The following statement just came in from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.:
The Obama Administration will brief the West Virginia delegation on what federal investigators have learned about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. The first of many briefings on these important findings is expected this Thursday from Assistant Secretary Joe Main, Deputy Assistant Secretary Greg Wagner, and Coal Administrator Kevin Stricklin as well as other Department of Labor officials.
Last week, Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to the President requesting that the West Virginia Congressional delegation receive ongoing briefings as soon as possible.
“This is the worst mine tragedy in over 40 years, we must leave no stone unturned in our quest for answers,” said Senator Rockefeller. “I know all of us in West Virginia are anxiously awaiting more information about what happened and why—so we can begin finding the necessary solutions. We owe it to the memories of the miners and their families to do all we can to make sure something like this never happens again.”
That’s all well and good … political leaders will be briefed by the investigators. But those briefings will happen behind closed doors, and the public will learn about them only what elected officials decide to tell us.
What about the public? What about the miners’ families?
Will members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation take the important step of demanding that MSHA and the state hold this investigation out in the open, so everyone can see what is said, what questions were asked, and why 29 men had to die?
And if they do and MSHA refuses, will the delegation force Congress to convene field hearings that will serve that same purpose?
Stay tuned …