Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsUpper Big Branch
IN THE NEWS

Upper Big Branch

FEATURED ARTICLES
NATIONAL
March 29, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
A former mine official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to impede mine safety enforcement at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion. Gary May, 43, of Bloomingrose, W. Va., admitted Thursday to concealing health and safety violations, using code phrases to give advance warning of inspections and ordering a mine examination book to be falsified. His actions, while he was superintendent of the mine, were intended to mask safety violations, including poor airflow and accumulation of explosive coal dust, two factors that have been deemed causes of the deadly explosion.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
March 29, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
A former mine official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to impede mine safety enforcement at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion. Gary May, 43, of Bloomingrose, W. Va., admitted Thursday to concealing health and safety violations, using code phrases to give advance warning of inspections and ordering a mine examination book to be falsified. His actions, while he was superintendent of the mine, were intended to mask safety violations, including poor airflow and accumulation of explosive coal dust, two factors that have been deemed causes of the deadly explosion.
Advertisement
NATIONAL
December 6, 2011 | By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau
The owner of the West Virginia coal mine where a fiery explosion killed 29 miners last year has agreed to pay a record $209 million in compensation and fines, officials said Tuesday, but the financial settlement does not stop other investigations into the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine. The settlement stops federal prosecutors from pursuing any criminal charges against Alpha Natural Resources, the company that acquired the mine's owner, Massey Energy Co., in June. But inquiries into individual criminal liability are ongoing, and the agreement does not bar prosecutors from pursuing criminal charges against individuals, according to U.S. Atty.
NEWS
March 27, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
The federal agency charged with ensuring mine safety failed to enforce laws that might have prevented the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal miners and seriously injured two others, according to an independent assessment of the 2010 incident. If the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration had enforced existing safety laws in a timely manner, “it would have lessened the chances of - and possibly could have prevented - the explosion,” a four-person panel of mine safety experts concluded.
OPINION
December 9, 2011
Upper Big Branch: A Dec. 9 editorial on the $209-million settlement with the new owner of the Upper Big Branch coal mine, where 29 miners died in an explosion last year, said it was between Alpha Natural Resources and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. It was between the company and the U.S. Department of Justice.
OPINION
December 9, 2011
The federal report on last year's West Virginia coal-mine explosion that killed 29 miners describes company managers so consumed by greed that they created a second set of books to hide safety problems, intimidated employees into staying silent about on-the-job hazards and called ahead to sections of the mine where inspectors were headed so that dangerous conditions could be hurriedly hidden. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration trumpeted its record-breaking, $209-million settlement this week with Alpha Natural Resources, the company that bought the Upper Big Branch mine from Massey Energy Co. after the accident.
NATIONAL
April 14, 2010 | By Kim Geiger and David Zucchino
Nearly 50 mines nationwide were targeted for enforcement action by federal mine safety inspectors for repeated violations last summer but remained open because of unresolved appeals by mine operators, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said Wednesday. Among the 32 coal mines targeted was the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where 29 miners died in a massive underground explosion April 5. High methane levels are suspected at the mine, which has long history of safety violations.
NEWS
March 27, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
The federal agency charged with ensuring mine safety failed to enforce laws that might have prevented the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal miners and seriously injured two others, according to an independent assessment of the 2010 incident. If the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration had enforced existing safety laws in a timely manner, “it would have lessened the chances of - and possibly could have prevented - the explosion,” a four-person panel of mine safety experts concluded.
OPINION
April 8, 2010
Coal mining is a highly dangerous endeavor, but that doesn't mean explosions are inevitable -- in fact, mining safety experts say that every deadly accident, including Monday's blast at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, is preventable. So what went wrong? Although the cause of the explosion, which killed at least 25 people, hasn't been determined, it's probable that a buildup of methane gas or coal dust was to blame. Indeed, federal regulators have issued 124 citations on the mine so far this year for safety violations, including some related to improper ventilation of methane.
NATIONAL
April 16, 2010 | By Christi Parsons and Tom Hamburger
Federal officials issued a scathing report Thursday showing a sky-high rate of violations by the West Virginia mine where a deadly explosion killed 29 miners last week, prompting President Obama to order the Justice Department to join the investigation and raising the specter of criminal charges. In 2009 alone, the report notes, the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 48 orders that workers be removed from parts of Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch mine for "repeated significant and substantial violations that the mine operator either knew, or should have known, constituted a hazard."
OPINION
December 9, 2011
Upper Big Branch: A Dec. 9 editorial on the $209-million settlement with the new owner of the Upper Big Branch coal mine, where 29 miners died in an explosion last year, said it was between Alpha Natural Resources and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. It was between the company and the U.S. Department of Justice.
OPINION
December 9, 2011
The federal report on last year's West Virginia coal-mine explosion that killed 29 miners describes company managers so consumed by greed that they created a second set of books to hide safety problems, intimidated employees into staying silent about on-the-job hazards and called ahead to sections of the mine where inspectors were headed so that dangerous conditions could be hurriedly hidden. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration trumpeted its record-breaking, $209-million settlement this week with Alpha Natural Resources, the company that bought the Upper Big Branch mine from Massey Energy Co. after the accident.
NATIONAL
December 6, 2011 | By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau
The owner of the West Virginia coal mine where a fiery explosion killed 29 miners last year has agreed to pay a record $209 million in compensation and fines, officials said Tuesday, but the financial settlement does not stop other investigations into the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine. The settlement stops federal prosecutors from pursuing any criminal charges against Alpha Natural Resources, the company that acquired the mine's owner, Massey Energy Co., in June. But inquiries into individual criminal liability are ongoing, and the agreement does not bar prosecutors from pursuing criminal charges against individuals, according to U.S. Atty.
NATIONAL
April 14, 2010 | By Kim Geiger and David Zucchino
Nearly 50 mines nationwide were targeted for enforcement action by federal mine safety inspectors for repeated violations last summer but remained open because of unresolved appeals by mine operators, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said Wednesday. Among the 32 coal mines targeted was the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where 29 miners died in a massive underground explosion April 5. High methane levels are suspected at the mine, which has long history of safety violations.
OPINION
April 8, 2010
Coal mining is a highly dangerous endeavor, but that doesn't mean explosions are inevitable -- in fact, mining safety experts say that every deadly accident, including Monday's blast at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, is preventable. So what went wrong? Although the cause of the explosion, which killed at least 25 people, hasn't been determined, it's probable that a buildup of methane gas or coal dust was to blame. Indeed, federal regulators have issued 124 citations on the mine so far this year for safety violations, including some related to improper ventilation of methane.
NATIONAL
April 28, 2010 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times, and Kim Geiger, Tribune Washington Bureau
The company that operated the West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 miners this month was able to "game the system" by using a lengthy appeals process to avoid safety shutdowns, witnesses told a Senate committee Tuesday. Massey Energy Co., which was cited 515 times for safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine last year and 124 times this year before the April 5 explosion, was able to continue mining coal. Many of the violations were for improper ventilation of methane and coal dust, the suspected causes of the worst U.S. mine disaster in 40 years.
NATIONAL
April 8, 2010 | By David Zucchino
Bobby Gray was beat. He'd just worked the nine-hour overnight shift at a coal mine on Seng Creek on Wednesday, and he was due back at 4 p.m. But at least he was alive and safe. "Thank God," said his wife, Michelle. "I worry every time he goes down in that mine that he won't come home at the end of his shift." Three days after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine killed 25 miners, dozens of other mines along the Big Coal River are still running, still sending men deep into the earth to scratch out a living.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|