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American Coal Mines Stay Open Despite Millions In Safety Fines

The injuries Jack Blankenship sustained after a 300-pound rock pinned him to the ground while working in a coal mine prevent him from sitting for long periods of time or walking far. He says he's in constant pain. (Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR)
The injuries Jack Blankenship sustained after a 300-pound rock pinned him to the ground while working in a coal mine prevent him from sitting for long periods of time or walking far. He says he's in constant pain. (Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR)

[Note: This show is from a previous interview that aired on November 13, 2014.]

There are federal regulations designed to keep American mineworkers safe, but this year, an NPR investigation found that there’s a loophole in the regulation, allowing mine owners to operate unsafe mines across the country.

For years, the mine owners have failed to pay penalties even as workers continue to be injured.

In this encore presentation of a report filed by NPR investigations correspondent Howard Berkes, we meet Jack Blankenship, a mineworker pinned a mile underground under a 300 pound rock while records shows that at the time the mine was overdue in more than $200,000 in safety fines.

Reporter

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