Casual conversation December 12th with Tim Means

Something new for our Casual Conversations: two conversations linked by subject matter.  Both concern mining and mines.  The first, which is with Tim Means, is about mining: how it is done, how it is regulated, and the human and legal institutional flaws that can jeopardize achievement of miners’ safety which is the intended regulatory objective. (The second on January 9 will feature David Abbott talking about his work for the SEC in ferreting out fraud in connection with selling shares of mines.)  The December 12th discussion with Tim will revolve around the issues presented by Tim’s novel, Copper Canyon. The event starts at 3:00 pm ET.  Below you will find both Tim’s Press Release for his novel and a list he has made of different ways in which we can organize our thoughts about the book.
While reading the book before the Casual Conversation would likely increase your appreciation of the discussion, it is, of course, not necessary.  The book is available on  If you want to join us, please send me an RSVP by the close of business on Friday, December 10.  Send it to my email: .
Arthur Fergenson

From Tim:

Here’s my list of five different thematic levels at which “Copper Canyon” unfolds or perhaps five different lenses through which to view it:
1. As simply a story about the miners at a small coal mine in a small town struggling to survive in an age of climate change and intense government regulation.
2. As an exploration of the roles of fate, fortune, and foibles, and of hubris, ignorance, and incompetence in shaping people’s lives.
3. As a meditation on human behavior/virtuous conduct as driven by fear of punishment, whether through God‘s wrath or legal prosecution, and the consequent need for enhanced and intensified law enforcement with the gradual demise of religious beliefs and attendant loss of the all-seeing and all-knowing deity.
4. As an illustration of the law of unintended consequences: the downside of governments presuming to regulate behavior being the inevitable failure of lawmakers to fully understand the issues and therefore to foresee the collateral damage they can cause.
5. As a primer on how underground coal mining is done and the laws intended to protect the safety and health of miners, and a call for reform to correct serious defects in those laws that jeopardize the safety and health of the miners.

News Release

Powerful new novel exposes how government regulation of mine safety and health can jeopardize miners’ safety

(WASHINGTON, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021) Author Tim Means has just announced the publication of Copper Canyon, a suspenseful legal thriller that traces an underground coal mine disaster back to the federal laws that were intended to safeguard miners’ safety.  When asked for his reaction to the new novel, Dave Lauriski, former chief of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, the agency that enforces those laws, acclaimed it as “a masterpiece of story-telling that speaks truth to power and shines with authenticity.”

Other experts have agreed.  Mike McKown, the former General Counsel of Murray Energy, then the largest underground coal company in America, described Copper Canyon as “a fast-moving novel set in a world with which few are familiar, underground mining. Copper Canyon succeeds in capturing the dilemmas mine operators sometimes face in trying to maintain compliance with government mandates without compromising the safety and jobs of their employees.”

Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Roscoe Howard describes Copper Canyon as “a realistic and harrowing portrayal of a mine accident” and praised it as “a riveting story of the dysfunctions often found with our federal laws and their tragic human consequences.”

Copper Canyon will engage readers in questioning the proper balance between too little and too much government regulation and the role of law and morality in the battle between good and evil in determining the fate and fortunes of individuals and business enterprises.  It is available on Amazon at_


Author Tim Means is a retired attorney who spent much of his life representing miners and mine operators before, during, and after mine accidents.  He studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, and obtained degrees from Dartmouth College, the University of Colorado, and the George Washington University School of Law before practicing law at Washington, D.C. law firms Jones Day and Crowell & Moring LLP.


Tim Means

Mobile: 1.301.704.8575