Former W.Va. mine foreman indicted
By VICKI SMITH
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A former Sago Mine foreman whose only certification was as a surface truck driver will face federal charges that he falsified inspection reports at the mine in 2004.
The 116-count indictment against Robert L. Dennison is not related to the Jan. 2 explosion that led to the deaths of 12 men at the mine.
Dennison, 35, was hired in May 2004 by the mine's former owner, Anker Energy, and was fired in August of that year after the company learned he was not certified to do safety inspections, according to the indictment.
"This type of allegedly fraudulent activity has no place in the mining environment, especially when the safety of miners is placed at risk," U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Johnston said.
A call to Dennison's home in Wallace went unanswered. A reporter for Bridgeport television station WDTV said Dennison declined to comment to the station until he consulted an attorney.
If convicted, Dennison could face up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines for each of 113 counts. He could receive up to five years and $250,000 in fines for each of the remaining counts.
Dennison was never issued an underground miner's card. His only certification is as a mining truck driver, according to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.
On his first inspection form, Dennison allegedly failed to include his foreman's certification number. On subsequent inspections, the indictment says, he listed a number that belongs to a foreman who does not know Dennison.
The indictment, issued by a grand jury in Elkins, also alleges that Dennison lied to an investigator with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration who questioned him.
The cause of the blast at the mine about 100 miles north of Charleston has not been determined, but is believed to have occurred in an abandoned section of the mine that had been sealed off.
Survivor Randal McCloy Jr. is recovering at a rehabilitation hospital.
The Sago Mine was cited for 208 alleged safety violations during 2005, at least 17 of which were considered serious. The mine's current owner has said it inherited many of the problems and had been working to correct them.
The mine was purchased last year by Ashland, Ky.-based International Coal Group. ICG formally took control of the mine in November, but started work there as management consultants in June.
ICG officials declined to comment on Tuesday's indictment because the company "neither operated nor owned the mine at the time," spokesman Matt Barkett said.
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Thread: Sago Mine Foreman indicted
02-22-2006, 10:16 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Sago Mine Foreman indictedAlways a day late and a dollar short!
02-26-2006, 01:16 AM #2
Well, not much info yet, but I sure hope this guy isn't just the scapegoat.
My experience is that when a supervisor takes short-cuts or worse, the management us usually pulling the strings. At the very least, someone up above usually contributes through act or ommission.
The trend in Canada recently is to go right to the top. The COO, or Owner must take ultimate responsibility for process errors.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
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