Dec 6, 2011 12:25 PM by Associated Press (JM)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The owner of a West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men will pay nearly $210 million in a historic settlement arising from the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in decades.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the settlement Tuesday, calling it a "revolutionary resolution" that is the largest of a criminal investigation into a U.S. mine disaster.
As part of the agreement, Alpha Natural Resources will not be charged with crimes but individuals still could face criminal prosecution. Alpha acquired Massey Energy after the explosion at Upper Big Branch.
The agreement includes more than $46 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families and $35 million in penalties for all Massey violations, including $11 million for Upper Big Branch.
Another $128 million will fund cutting-edge mine safety upgrades.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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