Kentucky lawmakers propose legislation to close 'Blackjewel loophole'

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HARLAN, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers have proposed legislation which they believe will close a loophole that allowed coal miners in Harlan County to go without pay.

Several former Kentucky miners who say they haven't been paid by Blackjewel LLC were blocking train tracks Tuesday as part of a protest against the company. (WYMT)

Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg, and Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg, have proposed the legislation, which would amend mines and minerals statutes to require companies applying for a permit to prove that a performance bond was paid.

Turner argues the legislation would prevent the situation that is continuing in Harlan County where Blackjewel coal miners blocked train tracks in protest.

“This legislation will go a long way to making sure that the Blackjewel situation does not happen again,” Rep. Hatton said. “While I regret that a performance bond was not in place in that case, our bill will guarantee one is there in the future so that our miners will always be paid for the work they do. We should not rest, though, until the Blackjewel workers get what is rightfully theirs.”

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, and Republican Rep. Chris Fugate of Hazard were also on hand for the announcement.

Sen. Turner prefiled the bill for the 2020 Regular Session.

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