Whitesburg KY

Coal operator pleads guilty

The former operator of a Letcher County coal mine this week pleaded guilty to recklessly disregarding the requirements of a mandatory safety standard set forth in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

Alger B. Jent, 56, of Kite, did not follow the MSHAapproved roof control plan for CSA Mining No. 2 Mine, an underground coal mine located on the Pike-Letcher county line.

As part of his guilty plea, Jent admitted that roof bolts were installed in the mine roof for which the setup torque did not meet the required 150 foot pounds. MSHA mine inspectors tested approximately 60 roof bolts in the working section of the mine and found that approximately one-third of the bolts turned and were not adequately torqued. A fully grouted resin bolt that turns and is not properly set cannot perform its function of supporting the mine roof. Jent was indicted by a federal grand jury in January of 2010.

The investigation was conducted by the Special Investigations Unit at MSHA’s District Six Headquarters in Pikeville.

Jent is scheduled to appear for sentencing before United States District Court Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins in Pikeville at 10:30 a.m. on June 28. Jent faces a maximum prison sentence of one year, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

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