Massey Energy Co. could have prevented the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers last year and the company failed to disclose some hazards in reports it provided to government inspectors, federal safety officials said Wednesday.
Patricia Smith, the U.S. Labor Department's top lawyer, said not recording hazards where required was a potential criminal violation of the Mine Act and "we have notified the U.S. attorney of that."
The Justice Department's probe of the accident is continuing, it said recently. Its investigation has so far resulted in a criminal indictment against the former head of safety at the Upper Big Branch mine for allegedly attempting to destroy evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.
At a briefing Wednesday in Beaver, W.Va., Kevin Stricklin, coal administrator for mine safety and health at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said, "We found there to be two sets of books" kept by Massey.
Republicans hate regulations and Corporations hate getting caught.