PIKEVILLE — An influential eastern Kentucky legislator owns the permits on Pike County coal mines that have repeatedly been cited by the state for safety and environmental violations.

Rep. Keith Hall’s Beech Creek Coal Co. and other companies that are mining coal on his permits have been cited for dropping rocks on homes; mining outside of permitted areas and water pollution.

Hall told the Lexington Herald-Leader that his role in Beech Creek Coal is minimal and other companies own and mine the coal. He says he is a strong advocate in the legislature for the health and safety of miners.

State officials say Hall’s mines don’t get special scrutiny or receive favors because of Hall’s position as vice chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.