Tags: US | Mine | Explosion

Feds Conducting Criminal Probe of W.Va. Mine Blast

Friday, 14 May 2010 05:48 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Federal prosecutors said Friday they are investigating whether there was "willful criminal activity" by the company that operates the West Virginia mine where 29 workers died in an accident last month.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of West Virginia said in a letter that investigators are looking into actions by the mine's operator, Performance Coal, and its directors, officers and agents.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, asks the Labor Department to hold off pursuing dozens of civil cases against Performance for alleged mine safety violations.

Performance is a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co., which owns the Upper Big Branch mine.

Last month, federal law enforcement officials said the FBI had interviewed nearly two dozen current and former employees of Massey in the probe. But the Justice Department declined to publicly confirm there was a criminal investigation.

In the letter Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II saids his office wants to make sure the pending civil cases don't interfere with the criminal probe. He asks the Labor Department to delay 44 civil penalty cases against Performance for alleged mine safety violations at Upper Big Branch.

Goodwin said a number of the safety citations could form the basis of criminal penalties under federal mine laws.

A Massey spokesman has said previously that the company was not aware of the nature of the federal probe but that "we intend to cooperate in all phases of the accident investigation."

The company was repeatedly cited for problems with its methane ventilation system and other issues in the months before the accident. It was not immediately clear which safety citations federal prosecutors were examining as part of the criminal investigation.

Joe Main, director of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said at a Senate hearing last month that Massey has a "troubling record" of safety violations and appeared to take a "catch-me-if-you-can" attitude toward workplace safety at the mine.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Washington School Gunman Was Homecoming Prince

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 07:49 AM

Jaylen Fryberg was well liked and athletic, a football player named to his high school's homecoming court just one week  . . .

Duncan's Nurses: We Held His Hand When Nobody Else Would

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 23:08 PM

The last people to hold Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan's hands to comfort him as he was dying at Dallas' Texas Presbyt . . .

Living Large: The Scandal of Bishops' Residences

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 20:31 PM

Camden, N.J., is one of the poorest cities in the U.S. So it was a shock earlier this year when reports surfaced that Bi . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved