The new information was included near the end of a more than 6,600-word "Letter to Stakeholders" released Thursday afternoon as part of Massey's ongoing and aggressive public relations campaign following the mine disaster.
Much of the letter repeats Massey's criticism of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, attacking the agency's mine ventilation practices and MSHA's closed-door investigation of the Upper Big Branch explosion.
"While the focus of attention has been on Massey, the public, government officials and the media should be at least as skeptical about the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, which enforces law intended to protect miners," the letter said.
"No one should assume that MSHA always knows what's best for miners or that its directives to mine owners are the product of careful, thoughtful application of best practices to ensure safe mining," Massey said. "Nor should they assume that MSHA is always objective, knowledgeable and fair in its enforcement of the mine safety laws."
Massey also alleged in the letter that MSHA has "intentionally disturbed" a crack in the Upper Big Branch Mine floor "damaging a vital piece of evidence" regarding whether a burst of methane from that crack may have been involved in the explosion.
"Their actions are difficult to understand, particularly given the previous known episodes of methane outbursts from similar cracks at UBB and nearby mines in the same coal seam," Massey said. "Notably, another mine in the same region as UBB, experienced a similar outburst around the time of the April 5 accident."
MSHA offered no immediate response to the latest Massey statements, but the agency did release more plans for improving its enforcement against repeat violators, following up on a scathing Department of Labor inspector general's report issued Wednesday.
In a news release, MSHA said it would toughen the requirements for any mine operators who are cited for a "pattern of violations" -- MSHA has never actually succeeded in issuing such an order -- to be removed from that status.
"Our efforts are focused on ensuring that future potential POV and POV determinations are an effective part of MSHA's enforcement strategy and advance Congress's intent -- that mine operators find and fix the root causes of violations before they become a hazard to miners."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.