CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- United Mine Workers safety experts plan to release a report next week on their investigation into the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in nearly 40 years.
UMW officials have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday in Charleston to publicly release the report on the April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County.
Prior to the report's public release, the union will hold a private briefing with families of the miners who died.
"Our charge is different from any other party to this investigation," said UMW President Cecil Roberts. "We don't have operational policies from which to divert attention. We don't have regulatory enforcement actions -- or inactions -- to explain away. We don't have lawsuits to defend against.
"All we have are the surviving miners, their families and most of all, the families of the victims," Roberts said. "More than anyone, they deserve to know the entire truth about what happened to their loved ones and their co-workers. That's what we will report on Tuesday."
Upper Big Branch was a non-union mine, but shortly after the disaster, miners working there designated the UMW to represent their interests in the investigation.
The move gave UMW safety representatives a role in the on-site and underground portions of the government disaster investigation, but federal Mine Safety and Health Administration officials prohibited union officials from sitting in on witness interviews.
MSHA chief Joe Main, a former union safety director, also refused the UMW's requests to conduct those interviews in public, and U.S. District Judge Irene Berger threw out a union lawsuit trying to force MSHA to conduct its investigation through public hearings.