Attorneys for West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s son Jay Justice and 12 of the family’s Virginia coal companies filed suit against the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on May 17. The Justice companies charge that the agency reneged on a settlement agreement regarding fines and fees related to mine reclamation.
Two weeks before, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration sued 23 Justice-family coal companies in five states for $4.7 million in unpaid penalties for mine safety violations.
“As alleged in the complaint, the defendants racked up over 2,000 safety violations over a five-year period and have, to date, refused to comply with their legal obligations to pay the resulting financial penalties,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said in a press statement.
Federal investigators have also issued subpoenas for the governor’s tax records from two state agencies, MetroNews reported in May. — By Molly Moore