CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. government has sued nearly two dozen of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies to get them to pay about $4.8 million in unpaid mine safety fines.
The civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Virginia on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Authorities say Justice’s companies committed more than 2,000 federal Mine Health and Safety Act violations since 2014 but have refused to pay the penalties.
All 23 companies are listed in the governor’s most recent financial disclosure form and they operate in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.
A lawyer representing Justice’s companies says they are disappointed the case was filed but that they will fight it in court.