April 30, 2010
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

NPR NEWS EXCLUSIVE: FBI INVESTIGATING WEST VIRGINIA MINE ACCIDENT

SOURCES TO NPR: FBI LOOKING INTO BRIBERY OF MSHA OFFICIALS

NPR News has exclusively learned that the FBI is investigating the April 5 explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia. Sources familiar with the investigation tell NPR that the FBI is looking into possible bribery of officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that inspects and regulated mining, and potential criminal negligence on the part of Massey Energy, which owns and operates the Upper Big Branch mine.

The FBI declined to comment and would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was ongoing. In a statement to NPR, Massey Energy says it is not aware of the allegations, and is fully cooperating with any investigations taking place.

This breaking news is posted now at NPR's news blog The Two-Way; additional details will be reported later today on Morning Edition and tonight on the newsmagazine All Things Considered.

Breaking this news are NPR correspondent Howard Berkes, reporting from West Virginia, and counter-terrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston, in New York. Berkes and correspondent Frank Langfitt have been extensively covering the mine accident and its aftermath on all NPR programs. Archived reports are available at NPR.org.