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MSHA evacuates 3 mines after anonymous tips

By Ed O'Keefe

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said its inspectors evacuated three West Virginia mines owned by Massey Energy Co. this month after receiving anonymous complaints. The announcement came just minutes before agency officials appeared on Capitol Hill for the first Congressional hearing on this month's deadly West Virginia mine blast.

MSHA inspectors also took control of company phone lines at two of the three mines in order to ensure that dangerous conditions were not tampered with by employees alerted about the presence of inspectors aboveground.

Partial evacuations were ordered at the Road Fork #51 Mine in Wyoming County and the Randolph Mine and Cook Mine in Boone County. All three mines are owned by Massey subsidiaries.

"Each one of these inspections resulting from anonymous complaints reflects a serious disregard for the safety and health of the miners who work at these operations," MSHA Administrator Joseph A. Main said in a statement. "Mine operators who disregard mine regulations and the Mine Act put miners at risk and must be held accountable for their behavior, and MSHA will do everything in its power to make sure that miner safety and health is paramount."

The agency received anonymous complaints about hazardous conditions at the Road Fork #51 Mine and Randolph Mine on March 24. It received tips about the Cook Mine on April 9, four days after the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
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We have the misfortune of having to have deadly explosions and blatant disregard for worker sadfety before people see the lies, deceit and corporate greed behind the blood soaked fallacy of "clean coal". Now we have the same thing happening about off-shore drilling in the Gulf Of Mexico.
People, waking up to the naked greed driving the Madison Avenue publicity machine's lies behind big energy.

Posted by: tniederberger | April 27, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

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