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DIVISION OF MINES

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS


Enforcement Actions

When an inspector identifies a violation of the Coal Mine Safety Laws of Virginia, a Notice of Violation or Closure Order shall be issued in writing with reasonable promptness, and will describe the nature of the violation including the section fo the Act or regulation violated.

Notice of Violations
Enforcement actions must be consistently applied at all mines.  If a mine inspector has reasonable cause to believe a violation of the Coal Mine Safety Laws of Virginia has occurred, a Notice of Violation must be issued to the person responsible for the violation.  The Notice of Violation will be deemed to be the final order of the Department and not subject to review by any court or agency unless, within 20 days following issuance, the person to whom the Notice of Violation was issued appeals its issuance by notifying the Division in writing.  See Administrative Review Procedures.

Closure Orders
A Closure Order may be issued requiring any mine or section thereof be cleared of all persons, or equipment removed from use when (i) a violation of the Coal Mine Safety Laws of Virginia has occurred; (ii) a mine fire, mine explosion, or other serious accident has occurred at the mine, as may be necessary to preserve the scene of such accident during the investigation of the accident; (iii) a mine is operating without a license; (iv) an operator to whom a Notice of Violation was issued has failed to abate the violation cited therein within the time period provided in such notice for its abatement.  The issuance of a Closure Order will constitute a final order of the Department, and the owner or operator of the mine will not be entitled to administrative review of such decision.  The owner or operator of any mine or part thereof for which a Closure Order has been issued may within 10 days following the issuance of the order, bring a civil action in the circuit court of the city or county in which the mine is located for review of the decision.

Penalties
Any person convicted of willfully violating any provision of the Coal Mine Safety Laws of Virginia or any regulation promulgated pursuant to this Act, unless otherwise specified in this Act, will be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

Prosecution of Violations
It will be the duty of the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute any violation of the Coal Mine Safety Laws of Virginia.