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Video: The Federal Eye talks mine safety on PBS

By Ed O'Keefe

The Federal Eye joined Gwen Ifill of the "PBS NewsHour" on Wednesday evening to discuss the ongoing investigation into last week's deadly mine blast in West Virginia that killed 29 coal miners.

As The Eye and colleague Steven Mufson report in Thursday's Post, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) asked all underground coal mines in his state to halt production for one day, so that workers can review safety issues in the wake of the April 5 explosion.

The average cost of shutting down an underground mine operation is about $11,000 a day, according to industry experts, and has been cited as a reason companies have contested violations and fought harsh enforcement by federal regulators.
Massey Energy, the largest coal mine operator in central Appalachia and the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine, said it would comply with Manchin's request. "We agree with the Governor's request and believe it is an appropriate way to honor the miners we lost," the company said in a statement. "Massey will use this as an opportunity to reflect on the events of April 5th and will focus our attention on safety and training."
In Washington, meanwhile, lawmakers voiced their own sense of urgency about safety violations. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, identified 48 mines singled out by federal mine safety officials last August for increased scrutiny; unresolved appeals filed by mine operators enabled the mines to avoid tougher enforcement measures. The list included the Upper Big Branch mine and five others owned by Massey Energy. Patriot Coal Corp. owns four, and Arcelor Mittal owns three.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 15, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Video Report  
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