"W.Va. Mine Faked Safety Logs Before Fatal Blast"

"The owner of the West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men last year kept two sets of books on safety conditions -- an accurate one for itself and a sanitized one for the government, federal regulators said Wednesday.

Managers at Massey Energy pressured workers at the Upper Big Branch mine to omit safety problems from the official set of reports, said Mine Safety and Health Administration official Kevin Stricklin. Workers told investigators that the company wanted to avoid scrutiny from inspectors and keep coal production running smoothly.

Massey was bought by rival Alpha Natural Resources earlier this month, and the new owner said it is looking into the allegations.

Even before the April 5, 2010, tragedy that was the nation's deadliest coalfield disaster in four decides, Massey had a poor safety record and a reputation for putting coal profits first. The mine was cited for 600 violations in less than a year and a half before the blast."

The Associated Press had the story June 29, 2011.

 

Thursday, June 30, 2011