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Penn Miner Charged With Risking a Catastrophe

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Harridburg, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) - A former Greene County miner today was charged with risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal violations of the Bituminous Coal Mine Act following allegations that he smoked a cigarette in a mine.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the defendant as Donald Adams Jr., 51, 120 Lee Ave., Spraggs. Adams held two bituminous coal mining certifications from the Commonwealth and worked at the Emerald Mine, an underground bituminous coal mine, which is located in Franklin Township, Greene County. 2-7-13 Donald Adams

According to the criminal complaint, miners working underground in the Emerald Mine smelt heavy cigarette smoke toward the end of one of their shifts and discovered a green water bottle and a burned cigarette near the air lock doors.

The charges state that after collecting the water bottle and the cigarette the workers exited the air lock doors, immediately smelt cigarette smoke and found Adams seated in the vicinity.

Kane said that approximately 117 miners were working in the Emerald Mine during Adams' shift and methane gas was present in the mine.

"The dangers of smoking in an underground mine are considerable," Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn Parno said. "The Environmental Crimes Section is committed to vigorously pursuing criminal violations of the Commonwealth's mining laws, especially violations that jeopardize the health and safety of mine workers."

Adams is charged with one count of unlawful conduct, one count of risking a catastrophe, and one count of recklessly endangering another person.

He was preliminarily arraigned before Waynesburg Magisterial District Justice D. Glenn Bates and released on $50,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

He will be prosecuted in Greene County by Deputy Attorney General Amy Carnicella of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section.

Kane thanked the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their assistance with the investigation.

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