Mining Investigation Will Likely Be Closed to Public, Open to Massey
White House officials today will begin their investigation of the horrific explosion that killed 29 miners in southern West Virginia a week ago. But, as in similar cases in the past, most of this process will almost certainly be closed to the public, even as Massey lawyers — who will likely be representing a number of the miners interviewed by investigators — are allowed to sit it on the proceedings. The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. wonders today why this process isn’t more transparent.
All of the secrecy might make sense, if MSHA and state officials didn’t almost always allow coal company lawyers to sit in on the interviews. The only good argument for secrecy in these interviews is that allowing openness tips off the company to the direction investigators are headed, allowing them to thwart things like potential criminal prosecution down the road.
But if the company lawyers are in the room, well, what’s the point of the secrecy?
Good question. Still waiting for the Obama administration’s answer.