Crandall Mine Investigative Hearing Set for Oct. 3

An investigative hearing into the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster before the full U.S. House Labor and Education Committee has been scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time in Washington, D.C. The meeting announcement did not list witnesses expected to testify. A roof collapse inside the underground coal mine on Aug. 6 trapped six miners, and a second "bump" event on Aug. 16 killed three rescuers, including one MSHA employee.

U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairs the committee. There's nothing in his committee's announcement indicating whether the hearing will focus more on MSHA's activities or on Murray Energy Corp., the Utah mine's owner, but Miller has requested all documents related to MSHA's role in the rescue attempt.

MSHA chief Richard Stickler testified at length Sept. 5 about the Crandall Canyon disaster before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and MSHA has posted his testimony at www.msha.gov/Media/CONGRESS/2007/09052007.pdf. He testified that MSHA had issued 67 violations against the mine since Murray took ownership of the mine Aug. 9, 2006. Murray produced about 23 million short tons of coals from its U.S. mines in 2006, representing 2 percent of total U.S. coal production that year, according to a recent National Mining Association report.

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