Coal Age

MAR 2019

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12 www.coalage.com March 2019 u.s. news continued It appears unclear how that might happen, however, although it is pos- sible that Kentucky U.S. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate ma- jority leader, and Sen. Rand Paul could push legislation to keep the unit open. Although neither senator tipped his hand, Sen. Paul accused the TVA board of prolonging the "war on coal" he said started under the previous ad- ministration of Democratic President Barack Obama. "It's unacceptable an unelected federal agency like TVA can show such blatant disregard for the views of the very people they are supposed to be serving," Paul said. "Perhaps it is time to hold them ac- countable and reconsider their status and benefits as a federal agency." Currently, the U.S. president appoints the TVA board. At pres- ent, there are two vacancies on the nine-member board. Prior to the vote, Sen. McConnell spoke about what he referred to as the Obama administration's "hostility to- ward coal communities. Here in Para- dise, the last remaining coal unit is too important to shutter, especially for the hundreds of jobs it supports both di- rectly and indirectly. This unit's full im- pact is felt far beyond the plant's bound- aries. The economy of this entire region is invested in its work and its future." Murray Energy Idles KenAmerican Resources Paradise No. 9 Mine Murray Energy Corp. will idle the Ke- nAmerican Resources Inc. Paradise No. 9 mine effective immediately due to market conditions, the company said. All employees affected during this idle period have been notified, and to the extent possible, positions at the compa- ny's other operations have been offered. In recent years, Ohio's Murray En- ergy Corp. has supplied most of the steam coal to the Tennessee Valley Au- thority's (TVA) Paradise Steam Plant Unit 3. On February 14, the TVA's board of directors voted 6-1 to retire the last remaining unit at the plant in Muhlen- berg County. The 971-megawatt facility will be retired by December 31, 2020. Former Armstrong Official Charged With Conspiracy During February, U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman announced a former su- pervisor and safety official from Arm- strong Coal had been charged with conspiracy to defraud an agency of the United States government by what he called "deceit, trickery and dishon- est means." The charges are against a former manager, Glendal "Buddy" Hardison, and relate to results of tests performed on the daily levels for breath- able dust at two mines in Kentucky: the Parkway mine in Muhlenberg County and the Kronos mine in Ohio County. Hardison allegedly met with Ron Ivy, a former safety director at the Kronos mine who was also indicted, and an- other person in 2013, and ordered them to do whatever they had to do to "make the pumps come in." This indictment is in addition to the eight previous offi- cials already charged in July 2018. The indictment stated that Hardi- son and other tried to deceive federal mine safety regulators as to the daily levels of breathable dust at the mines. The federal grand jury also charged the nine officials with making false state- ments about the results of the tests that were required to be conducted every 60 days to protect certain "des- ignated occupations." These occupa- tions were ones that are in the dustiest and most dangerous job assignments in a coal mine, Coleman said. The Mine Safety and Health Admin- istration conducted the investigation. The charges state that Armstrong officials allegedly removed dust test- ing devices early in the miners' shifts and placed the devices in less dusty or "clean air." Also that during a test- ing period, officials allegedly replaced miners who ran the most dust-causing machines with miners who were not wearing the dust testing devices, so the company would pass the tests. It also alleged that Armstrong officials fabri- cated and submitted dust sampling test results on days the mine was shut down or otherwise not in operation and that officials ordered testing devices to be run in "clean air" before and after shifts to skew the test results. It also stated that a mine superintendent allegedly ordered a safety official to take whatev- er action necessary to ensure the com- pany passed dust sampling tests. Armstrong Coal, which is now bankrupt, is designated on the indict- ment as an unindicted co-conspirator. The Kronos mine remains in op- eration under a new name, the Gene- sis mine, and new ownership, Murray Energy. The Parkway mine is no lon- ger open. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy Ream, Corinne Keel and MSHA's Jason Grover. Report Confirms Positive Outlook for Four Corners Power Plant Navajo Transitional Energy Co. (NTEC) released a report by Wash- ington, D.C., firm Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA) entitled, "Owning Four Corners is a Good Deal for NTEC and the Navajo Nation." The report re- futes a December 2018 IEEFA study that claimed NTEC's 7% ownership in the Four Corners Power Plant was a bad investment that could cost NTEC $170 million from 2020 to 2027. The EVA study explained that data used to lead the IEEFA to their claim of losses was based on data compiled in years when the power plant's two units were undergoing major up- grades that resulted in units being off line for a substantial amount of time. The 13-page study detailed and refuted the five central claims made by the Institute for Energy and Eco- nomic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) study, "A Bad Bet: Owning the Four Corners Power Plant is a Risky Gam- ble for the Navajo Nation and the Plant's Other Owners." U.S. News Continued from Page 7 U.S. News Continued on Page 14

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