Idaho Gravel Mine Refuses Federal Inspection
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
The U.S. Department of Labor is taking a mining company to court for preventing a federal inspector from examining a sand and gravel rock-crushing operation near Weippe, Idaho.
Scott Amos, an inspector with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, visited the Rock Solid mine on October 27 to conduct a health and safety inspection. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 authorizes the government to inspect mines and forbids companies from interfering with such duties.
Nevertheless, a company official, Jason Berreth, refused to allow Amos entry onto the Rock Solid mine property, claiming the MSHA first had to present a court order for the inspection. Amos informed Berreth that he was mistaken, but the inspector still was denied access. He then cited Rock Solid for obstructing the inspection and issued a withdrawal order for Berreth to stand aside. He did not.
The company continued to refuse the inspection even after Amos’ supervisor called Phil Berreth, the president of Timber Savers, which owns Rock Solid, to inform him of the government’s authority to inspect the mine.
In filing its complaint, the Labor Department has asked a federal judge to issue an injunction that forces the company to cease all mining operations until it complies with the inspection.
Hilda Solis v. Timber Savers Inc. (U.S. District Court, Ohio) (pdf)
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