U.S. Is Reducing Safety Penalties For Mine Flaws

In its drive to foster a more cooperative relationship with mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times. Federal records also show that in the last two years the federal mine safety agency has failed to hand over any delinquent cases to the Treasury Department for further collection efforts, as is supposed to occur after 180 days.

By IAN URBINA and ANDREW W. LEHREN; Ian Urbina reported from Craigsville, W.Va., and Andrew W. Lehren from New York

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