Thursday, October 29, 2009

Report on record coal spill remains largely secret

Six months after Attorney General Eric Holder was applauded for loosening Bush-era government secrecy, the Labor Department is still resisting releasing an uncensored version of its Iinspector general's report on the record coal slurry spill in Martin County, Kentucky, in 2000. The spill resulted from a 60-foot wide hole in the bottom pf a Massey Energy impoundment built over an old mine and polluted 100 miles of waterways in more than 10 Kentucky counties.

The Lexington Herald-Leader's editorial board called Thursday for the government to release the report into allegations of a coverup of the spill. About half of the 25-page report was withheld, raising questions about what was being hidden and why. The newspaper writes: "The only imaginable risk is to the reputations of government officials, past and present, whose actions or inactions might have contributed to this environmental catastrophe." (Read more)

We join with the Herald-Leader and our friends at Mine Safety and Health News in calling for the government to avoid any more unneeded secrecy in releasing this long overdue report.

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