CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Two new bills in the West Virginia House of Delegates would stiffen penalties to those who enter an abandoned mine.
House Bill 2980: or “Mine Trespass Act” would establish misdemeanor and felony offenses for the trespass. The bill also provides a hold harmless provision and for temporary exemption from environmental regulations.
First offense: if guilty, confined to jail not less than one week and not more than one month and be fined between 1,000 to 5,000 dollars.
Second offense: if guilty, confined to jail one to five years and a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 dollars.
Third offense: if guilty, confined to jail for five to ten years and a fine of 10,000 to 25,000 dollars.
House Bill 2979: The purpose of this bill is to establish responsibility of the mine owner to seal mines; establish liability for failure to seal mines; prohibit entry into an active, sealed or abandoned mine; establish criminal penalties; and establish civil liability for costs associated with rescue from a mine.
Back in December, four people entered the Rock House Powellton Mine allegedly to steal copper. One person made it out on his one but the other three had to be rescued and the operation took 5 days.