Nearly a year-and-a-half after an explosion at the Massey Upper Big Branch Mine in W. Va claimed 29 lives, several organizations are preparing to release reports of their findings.
The United Mine Workers of America, which is one of several entities probing the causes of the blast at the now-shut, non-union metallurgical coal mine, is set to publish its findings in the next couple of weeks, according to a source close to the investigations who asked not to be identified.
West Virginia’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training should have a report around November 1, and that of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration around December 1, the source said Monday.
“I’ve been told those were the dates, [but] they have slipped in the past,” the source said, cautioning: “If I was going to the track, I wouldn’t bet $20 on it.”
Representatives of the agencies releasing the reports offered only general deadlines in emails sent Monday. “We intend to release our report early this fall,” UMWA spokesman Phil Smith said.
“MSHA’s report will be out this fall,” agency spokeswoman Amy Louviere said. “That’s as specific as we can get.”
“Yes, we expect our report to be completed and released during the last quarter of 2011,” MHST spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater said. “I cannot be more precise at this time.”
None of the agencies offered a preliminary account of what the reports would say, though the source said that findings on the causes of the accident would closely follow what MSHA and an independent West Virginia investigation team have previously reported.
The April 10, 2010 explosion at the mine formerly owned by Massey Energy claimed 29 miners, the US’ deadliest coal mining accident in 40 years. A criminal probe by the US Department of Justice is ongoing.
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Submitted by Patrick McQueen