Rahall, House panel demand mine blast prosecutions

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and other members of the House Education and Workforce Committee are demanding the Justice Department pursue criminal prosecutions in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday, the
committee urged a vigorous investigation that goes as far as
possible up the Massey Energy chain of command.

Massey was bought by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources in
June. Alpha recently reached a $210 million settlement that spares
the corporation criminal prosecution, but does allow prosecution of

Twenty-nine men died when the mine near Montcoal exploded last
year. Several investigations have declared the accident preventable
but said Massey ignored basic safety measures.

The committee says individuals established the deadly practices
at the mine, and individuals should be held accountable.

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