September 20, 2010, JULIAN, W.Va.,(Coal Geology): Massey Energy Company (NYSE:MEE) reported that 79 percent of post-accident coal dust samples taken by MSHA from the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine in Montcoal, WV were non-compliant. Massey Energy complains that this is not the first time MSHA has attempted to use unproven or faulty coal dust claims in their investigation efforts. In the 2005 legal proceeding MSHA v. Jim Walter Resources, Inc., federal investigators had their coal dust theories rejected when they used contaminated, two-month-old post-accident dust samples and falsely asserted they were representative of non-compliant coal dust levels immediately preceding a mine explosion. In the UBB investigation, MSHA is using the same dust specialist from the Jim Walter Resources, Inc. case, Clete Stephan, and employing the same dust collection techniques that were rejected by an administrative law judge in that proceeding. Unfortunately, MSHA has failed to learn the lessons from its prior investigative mistakes.
MSHA‘s narrow-minded focus on compromised coal dust evidence is doing a disservice to those UBB families entitled to concrete answers unequivocally supported by accurate scientific findings and the facts. Sadly, MSHA appears to be more interested in proving itself right, even if the evidence suggests the agency’s presumptions are wrong.
A copy of MSHA v. Jim Walter Resources, Inc. will be available online at www.masseyubb.com.
This company’s web site http://www.masseyenergyco.com