Coal Tattoo

UBB report: Early news coverage coming in

Mine helmets and painted crosses sit at the entrance to Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in Montcoal, W.Va. The memorial represents the 29 coal miners who were killed in an explosion at the mine one year ago today. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

Along with our new reports on the Gazette’s website and here on Coal Tattoo, there’s a flurry of other stories coming out right now that detail the findings of independent investigator Davitt McAteer’s report on the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.

Here’s a sampling with links:

— Our buddy Howard Berkes over at NPR reports:

The first investigative report about last year’s coal mine disaster in West Virginia blames a corporate “culture in which wrongdoing became acceptable, where deviation became the norm” for the deaths of 29 Massey Energy mine workers.

— Kris Maher of The Wall Street Journal:

A 13-month independent investigation into the coal-mine explosion that killed 29 Massey Energy Co. workers last year concluded that the accident could have been prevented and was primarily the result of the company’s failed safety systems, which federal and state regulators failed to correct.

The Washington Post:

An investigative report that details the findings of a year-long probe into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion paints a picture of a rogue coal operation where basic safety measures were routinely flouted and federal regulators did little more than issue citations and walk away.

USA Today:

An independent study concludes that the West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed 29 men last year was the result of safety failings by owner Massey Energy Co.

The New York Times:

In the first comprehensive state report on the 2010 coal mine disaster in West Virginia, an independent team of investigators put the blame squarely on the owner of the mine, Massey Energy, concluding that it had “made life difficult” for miners who tried to address safety and built “a culture in which wrongdoing became acceptable.”

The Associated Press:

An independent investigation concludes the West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed 29 men last year was the result of safety failings by owner Massey Energy Co and rejects the company’s argument that a sudden gas buildup caused the deadliest U.S. coalfield disaster since 1970.

Mine Safety and Health News:

Illegal and unsafe mining practices, combined with intimidating mine managers who threatened miners and supervisors, created an atmosphere at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine of “normalized deviance,” according to a report released today by an independent investigative review panel.

Family members of Upper Big Branch miners enter for Beckley Convention Center for a briefing on Davitt McAteer’s report. Gazette photo by Gary Harki.