(06/17/2006)
During the same week that new mine safety legislation was passed in Washington, West Virginia's Massey Coal has been accused of non-compliance.

Federal mine safety investigators are taking an unusual step against Massey, accusing them of stonewalling in providing information regarding a fatal accident investigation.

MSHA is filing a lawsuit against the coal company, long known for neglecting to pay fines and filing counter suits over spills and accidents.

MSHA is asking a federal judge to force Massey to turn over key documents that may help investigators looking into the January 19 Alma Mine fire in Logan County.

Two miners were killed in that accident.

MSHA says Massey has had chance after chance to submit the information, but the responses have been "slow and non-existent."

Massey's press release says, "The Company believes the additional documentation requested to be outside of the scope of MSHA's authority under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977."

MSHA says it wants documents and physical evidence from the company dealing with mine management authority, mine ventilation, possible previous fires or like events and construction projects.

The federal agency says this is the first time there has been a "broad refusal" by a mine operator to provide relevant documents in an investigation.

MSHA gave Massey a final deadline of June 9 to submit the information, but the company did not.


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