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Letcher man charged with illegal mining

Investigators of the Kentucky Division of Mine Safety and the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement have cited a Letcher County man for illegally mining an estimated 700 tons of coal at a surface mine near Van in Letcher County.

Bryan Lee Wagner was heading up the operation and is charged with mining without a permit and mining without a license.

In the notice of violation, Wagner is directed to “immediately cease mining operations, begin reclamation activities to conform to Permanent Program Standards, immediately install temporary sediment control to Permanent Program Standards, and submit a comprehensive Permanent Program Application.”

The civil penalty for illegal mining under surface mining reclamation regulations is from $5,000 up to $25,000 per day. The final amount is still being calculated. Under mine safety regulations, Wagner can be barred from obtaining a future license as well as revocation of any mining certificates or licenses he currently holds. Any noncertified personnel working at the site could also be fined the equivalent of their wages for up to 10 days.

Kentucky surface and underground mines extracted nearly 81 million tons of coal in 2013.

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