MSHA advice at UBB may have only been oral - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

MSHA advice at UBB may have only been oral

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The Mine Safety and Health Administration orally advised Massey Energy how to deal with methane leaks at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine.

But MSHA director Joe Main says he doesn't know if those recommendations were put into written reports for the operator of the mine where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion.

Methane and coal dust fueled the blast, which was sparked by cutting equipment.

Massey and Upper Big Branch are now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.

The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/vBuUwm) says the possible lack of communication was revealed in correspondence between Main and a congressman.

MSHA had suggested steps Massey could take to stop methane leaks from the floor after investigations of previous leaks and ignitions. But the agency has said that Massey never followed up.

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