After a Kentucky mine he operated exploded in 2006, killing five men, Ralph Napier moved on. He now is vice president of two companies operating other mines in Kentucky.
Napier still owes about $637,000 in civil penalties related to the 2006 blast, according to a published report.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration officials found the company under which Napier operated the mine in 2006 "did not observe basic mine safety practices ..." That is why stiff penalties were assessed.
Again, Napier hasn't paid - and is involved with two other mines. Why has the federal agency not been more active in collecting the penalties?
It is not uncommon for mine operators to close companies, then open new ones under different names. MSHA officials should determine the extent of Napier's ownership in the two newer mines - and whether he should be allowed to have any involvement in mining.
At the very least, the agency should collect money Napier owes for disobeying safety rules.