Another Violation-Ridden Mine Death, Another 'Wildcat Coal Lodge' Baron Scandal

Once again, our hearts and prayers go out to the families of coal
miners--this time in western Kentucky--as reports emerge of a mine
collapse at the Alliance Resource Partners' Dotiki Mine in Hopkins
County, Kentucky.

According to AP, one coal miner has died; another coal miner is

Once again, the nation is witnessing the deadly toll of coal mining
on our miners and coalfields in an industry contemptuous of laws and

And once again, an infamous coal baron--this time, Joseph Craft III,
CEO of Oklahoma-based Alliance, who turned the hallowed University of
Kentucky basketball confines into a national embarrassment as "Wildcat
Coal Lodges" and the "Joe Craft Center" and now graces the UKY walls in
the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame--is exposed for putting
production and profit over safety.

According to the Herald-Leader, the Dotiki Mine has "received 2,973
citations," over the past five years, of which, "968 were considered
significant and substantial." The Herald-Leader added:

The Dotiki operator was cited 216 times so far in 2010,
according to MSHA's Web site.
In 2009, the company was cited 649 times, more than the 458 citations
issued last year against the West Virginia mine that blew up April 5
killing 29. On April 13, MSHA cited the operator for not notifying it
quickly of an accident and for not preserving an accident site.

While his mines operated in violation of MSHA regulations and laws, Craft made national headlines last October by
making a 19th century backroom deal with University of Kentucky
President Lee T. Todd Jr to rename the beloved Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge
as the Wildcat Coal Lodge for a price tag of $7 million.

Over at the Coal Tattoo blog, Charleston Gazette journalist Ken
has done a great breakdown of Alliance's infractions of the
past several years, including a "quick check of U.S. Mine Safety and
Health Administration reports revealed seven such incidents that claimed
nine lives in the last five years alone" in Alliance's non-unions

As always, hope dies last in the coalfields, and our heart and
prayers and actions must support all coal miners and their families
until these lawless practices of violation-ridden operations end.

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