U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials said today that “approximately 15 Massey upper management employees” have asserted their “5th Amendment right not to provide potentially self-incriminating evidence during the interview process” in the investigation of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.
That tidbit — which increases from 11 to 15 the number of Massey officials known to have refused to answer questions — is part of a new MSHA update on its investigation of the April 5 explosion that killed 29 miners. Other information in the update:
— Massey’s accident investigation plan has been approved and the company began its investigation on Monday, October 25, 2010. The investigation is currently focused on the longwall face and tailgate entries. MSHA and State officials are also underground as Massey conducts during their investigation.
— As of October 26, 2010, the shoreline of the water in HG22 is at crosscut 33. It appears that at this rate, it will take 2 more weeks to complete the pumping of HG22.
— The completion of the MSHA investigation is pending the pumping of the water in HG22 as well as evaluating the refuge chambers and testing the shearing machine.
— Testing of the electrical equipment is ongoing.
On the 5th Amendment issue, MSHA did not name the Massey employees and the Manchin administration has so far refused to release most of the names of those who have refused to answer questions about the disaster.
Stay tuned …