In 2010, the attention of the nation turned to Raleigh County after an explosion in the Upper Big Branch Mine, owned by Massey Energy, claimed the lives of 29 miners.
Shocked, hurt and outraged, people demanded an investigation. Reports have been compiled on the federal, state, union and even independent levels, and all have concluded that the tragedy could have been prevented if mine officials had given more attention to safety and less to pushing coal while disregarding hazardous conditions within the mines.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration, the UMWA and an independent study for the governor’s office conducted by Davitt McAteer, former MSHA director, published their findings late in 2011. The state’s report was released Thursday.