Circuit Tosses Citation Against Mining Operator

     DENVER (CN) – The 10th Circuit has overturned a citation issued to Plateau Mining Corp. in connection with a methane explosion in Utah’s Willow Creek Mine that killed two coal miners and injured eight others.

     The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s citation claimed the accident in 2000 occurred because the mine’s ventilation system was operating beyond capacity.
     The appeals court found that there was no evidence that the ventilation system had been pushed beyond its capacity or that the system was not performing as required or expected. Without this evidence, the administration lacked the proof needed to issue the citation.
     Willow Creek Mine is an underground coal mine in Carbon County, Utah. Miners extract the coal using a method called “longwall mining,” which allows them to remove a seam of coal without leaving behind pillars of coal for support. Willow Creek is considered a “gassy” mine because its mining operations release a significant amount of methane.

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