Coal Tattoo

I just got off the phone with Davitt McAteer, who led the independent team investigating the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, producing a landmark report released last month.

Davitt had an opportunity to review the new report that former Massey board chairman Bobby Inman (right)  is promoting, repeating the same theories that the explosion was a natural disaster that former Massey CEO Don Blankenship championed.

And Davitt raises an interesting question: If this report was prepared by experts hired by Massey, and Alpha has purchased Massey, isn’t this report Alpha’s property now?

Given that — and given Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield’s statements about how Alpha wants to have a good relationship with regulators and work toward all of its mines “Running Right”, does Alpha endorse this report? Davitt told me:

Is this an Alpha report? The report appears to be a product of Massey Energy and Massey Energy was purchased by Alpha.

Has Alpha endorsed the report? And if they don’t endorse the report, then the president of the company needs to come out and say they don’t endorse the report, and distance his company from it.

I’ve asked Alpha spokesman Ted Pile for a comment on the report, but he hasn’t responded.