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MSHA citations reveal mine unsanitary conditions left West Virginia miners even more vulnerable to COVID-19

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Crawling maggots. Sewage near the shower. The nearest toilet more than a mile away.

These are among unsanitary conditions federal regulators found at mine sites throughout West Virginia from March to December 2020 that could have contributed to the coronavirus. Regulators issued state mines 195 citations for such cases, accounting for a fifth of the total nationwide.

Uncovered through a Gazette-Mail request under the Freedom of Information Act, the citations suggest unhygienic conditions have deepened the perils of miners toiling in tight quarters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most frequent unhealthy condition regulators observed at West Virginia mine sites was failure to provide sanitary toilets. The most commonly cited mine operators were the Kentucky-based Lexington Coal Company and companies controlled by Gov. Jim Justice’s family and Liechtenstein-based Sev.en Energy.

The citations indicate conditions were unsanitary enough they could have contributed to the spread of coronavirus, not that COVID-19 was found onsite, according to Amanda McClure, a spokeswoman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration…

To read more: http://wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/msha-citations-reveal-mine-unsanitary-conditions-left-wv-miners-even-more-vulnerable-to-covid-19/article_9fecf66d-8b2c-5c44-a601-d197d79a4521.html

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