Massey Energy Challenges MSHA Order

Jun 28, 2010, 15:56 ET from Massey Energy Company

JULIAN, W.Va., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE) today filed a legal challenge to an order by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) that prohibits Massey Energy investigators from utilizing basic investigative tools, such as cameras, electronic mapping and coal dust analysis as part of the inquiry into the April 5, 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine accident.  The legal challenge seeks emergency relief from the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to overturn MSHA's order.  

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"It is troubling that MSHA would seek to limit the ability of investigators to locate and analyze important evidence that is essential in determining the cause of the Upper Big Branch mine accident," said Shane Harvey, General Counsel for Massey Energy. "MSHA's actions imply that the agency does not want a thorough, objective and inclusive inquiry."

The legal filing states, "MSHA's effort to prevent a more comprehensive inspection of the mine is particularly troubling in light of the fact that the agency itself is under scrutiny for demanding questionable mine ventilation modifications mere weeks prior to the accident. Because the law plainly does not permit MSHA to make [Massey] a bystander at an investigation of its own mine, [Massey] has respectfully requested that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission modify the Section 103(k) order so that the investigation of the Upper Big Branch accident can move forward in a credible fashion consistent with law."

MSHA's order prohibits Massey from taking its own photographs and coal dust samples and hinders Massey's efforts to have experts evaluate the conditions underground.

The legal filing will be posted on the Massey UBB website at  

Massey Energy Company, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

SOURCE Massey Energy Company