Panel Opts Not to Punish Whistleblowing Coal Miner

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A coal miner from eastern Kentucky who provided information on safety violations that led to federal criminal convictions will not be punished after a state panel decided not to impose a penalty for committing a legal violation.

The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing on Thursday ruled that 41-year-old Mackie Bailey took part in using a machine exposed to potential roof falls. But, because he later reported the violation, his miner certification should not be affected.

Bailey worked at the Manalapan Mining Co.'s P-1 mine near Pathfork, in Harlan County, in the first half of 2011.

Three company officials and the company pleaded guilty to criminal charges and are awaiting sentencing.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported ( ) the panel commended Bailey risking his job to report the violations.

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