Massey Investigator Denied Access to UBB

Oct 07, 2010, 15:04 ET from Massey Energy Company

JULIAN, W.Va., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Massey Energy Company (NYSE: MEE) announced that officials from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) have prevented one of the Company's lead investigators, Dr. Christopher Schemel, from participating in further investigative efforts at UBB.  MSHA has indefinitely denied Dr. Schemel underground access to the mine on the grounds that he has not received experienced coal miner training.  By contrast, MSHA personnel and others without such training have not been excluded.  

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Dr. Schemel, a leading explosions expert, has a Ph.D. in fire safety engineering from the University of Edinburgh and has previously served as an investigator on the 2001 West Pharmaceutical's explosion in Kinston, NC; 2005 Buncefield Oil Storage explosion in Hertfordshire, England; 2005 BP Texas City Refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas; 2006 Sago Mine explosion in Sago, West Virginia; 2009 ConAgra Foods explosion in Garner, NC; and the 2009 NDK Crystal explosion in Belvidere, IL.  In addition, Dr. Schemel has cooperatively accompanied federal and state investigators underground over the last four months.

"Dr. Schemel has been underground at UBB for months and MSHA's decision to deny him access now does not make sense and is very suspicious, especially when you consider the timing," said Massey Vice President and General Counsel, Shane Harvey.  "This mirrors MSHA's recent refusal to approve our own independent inquiry of the UBB accident."  

"Dr. Schemel is eminently qualified.  MSHA's efforts to exclude him will not help anyone determine what happened at UBB."

Massey Energy Company, headquartered in Richmond, Va., 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