Federal mine safety regulators have discovered false reporting of accidents and injuries at two West Virginia coal mines once owned by Massey Energy, which also owned the mine hit by a deadly explosion last year.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the Randolph and Justice No. 1 mines in Boone County, W. Va., inaccurately reported or neglected to report 24 injuries last year that resulted in 1,125 lost days of work.
Choosing safety over production was a firing offense at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine, according to a federal investigation of last year's deadly explosion there.
Investigators reported Wednesday on the progress of their ongoing, 15-month-long probe. They provided new documentation of how low-level managers who made safety a priority were intimidated and, in some cases, dismissed.
Documents just unsealed in a lawsuit involving the pending merger of coal mine giants Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources claim a "secret pact" promised high-level jobs to Massey officials if the company agreed to the takeover.
The Massey officials include several who were directly involved in the management of Massey's Upper Big Branch coal mine, where 29 mine workers died in a massive explosion last year, and in the investigation of that disaster.