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Murray Energy backs off appeal of ruling against its coal miner bonus program

Murray Energy Corp. requested the dismissal of a petition for review of a decision it challenged regarding a worker bonus program that federal officials said discouraged workers from reporting safety issues.

Murray Energy filed a motion for dismissal Jan. 15 to toss the case ahead of oral arguments scheduled for Jan. 30 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Opponents in the case, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and related officials did not object to the motion.

The company was appealing the decision as to whether its safety and production bonus plans implemented at six of its mine operations were used to discourage miners from exercising certain rights under federal mine safety laws. While Murray Energy said the program improved safety and productivity, the review commission ruled in favor of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, which filed an initial complaint about the practice in 2015. An administrative law judge later backed the decision.

Murray Energy is in the middle of a bankruptcy reorganization through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio.