"Mine Received 61 Closure Orders Prior To Disaster"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Parts or all of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine were ordered closed more than 60 times in 2009 and 2010, and the mine was repeatedly cited in recent months for allowing potentially explosive coal dust to accumulate, according to newly released government documents.

But despite what regulators concede were serious and growing problems, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration never took stepped-up action to cite the Upper Big Branch Mine for a "pattern of violations," according to the documents.

Mine safety advocates this week were outraged at the results: A massive explosion Monday afternoon that left at least 25 miners dead in the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in a quarter century."

Ken Ward Jr. reports for the Charleston Gazette April 8, 2010.

See Also:

"Mine Operator Escaped Extra Oversight After Warning" (New York Times)

"W.va. Mine Has Years of Serious Violations, Officials Say" (Washington Post)

Friday, April 9, 2010