At the urging of Tony Oppegard, '80 alum and mine safety advocate, Kentucky regulators are investigating whether to revoke coal-mining
licenses at a Harlan County operation where a recent federal safety
blitz uncovered numerous dangerous conditions. Last Friday Oppegard wrote a letter to Kentucky’s Office of Mine Safety and
Licensing urging them to file charges that would lead to the revocation
foreman licenses at K and D Mining Inc.’s Mine No. 17 in Highsplint, KY.
"The dangerous conditions that existed at K and D Mining’s No. 17 mine —
which jeopardized the safety and health of every miner working there —
should not be tolerated by OMSL,” Oppegard said. "OMSL in the past few years has done an
extremely poor job of filing charges against foremen and others who have
jeopardized the safety of miners by making them work in unsafe
Oppegard is a former adviser to the assistant secretary for Mine Safety & Health
Administration (U.S. Department of Labor) and former general counsel for
the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals. He has represented miners
and their families in numerous cases and he helped write the landmark 2007 Kentucky mine-safety law that gives the state more power to go after unsafe mines.