Massey Energy: MSHA's Defense of Investigation Protocol Is Unfounded

Jun 29, 2010, 14:20 ET from Massey Energy Company

JULIAN, W.V., June 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Massey Energy Company (NYSE: MEE) today released the following statement in response to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) claims that the agency's order preventing Massey investigators from taking pictures and samples during the Upper Big Branch (UBB) inquiry were put in place to ensure that evidence is not disturbed:

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"You cannot disturb evidence by taking photographs of it," said Massey Energy General Counsel Shane Harvey. "MSHA never raised these concerns before and their after-the-fact justification is not credible."

"MSHA's stance is unprecedented in my experience and will produce an investigation that is less thorough and less transparent," said H. John Head, a mining expert called upon to review MSHA's investigation protocol. "The inclusion of additional evidence materials, such as photographs, coal dust samples, and electronic mine maps, shared with all the parties in the investigation, will only enhance the ability of investigators in uncovering the underlying causes of the UBB accident."  

"We are increasingly concerned that MSHA will only gather and share information that does not reflect poorly on the agency or discredit its theories. From the very beginning of our discussions with MSHA, Massey has offered to share immediately the results of any tests we perform, any photographs we're permitted to take, and any other data we collect with MSHA and the U.S. Attorney.  We have nothing to hide and everything to gain by ensuring that the factual record is fully developed," said Harvey.

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