The state medical examiner found evidence of marijuana in Gray's blood and that his blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent. Investigators said they found an empty beer can in Gray's truck, and a bag containing remnants of marijuana on his person.
In their report, state investigators said they found that a company foreman had smelled alcohol on Gray on two occasions prior to the fatal incident. Also, a security guard saw Gray putting unopened cans of beer into his lunchbox at the start of a recent shift, the state report said.
State officials cited the company for violating a rule that required mine management to remove Gray from the work site "after having reasonable cause to believe that he could be under the influence" of alcohol.
Member of Gray's family repeatedly have questioned the accuracy of the state report. An MSHA investigation reported that the haul road where the accident occurred was muddy and rutted from recent rains at the time of the incident, but that the conditions could have been "a normal part of the road development and construction process."
During last week's hearings, McAteer told lawmakers that his investigative team was not aware of any comprehensive reports that attempt to examine the relationship between drug or alcohol abuse and fatal coal-mining accidents.
McAteer said that "no one in their right mind wants an impaired miner working next to them or working down the road or anywhere" in the coal industry.
Also, McAteer noted that the National Mining Association opposed a Bush administration drug-testing proposal for the coal industry, at least in part because it would have required operators to give first-time offenders a chance to seek treatment before they could be fired.
Coal industry officials have praised the lack of such a requirement in Tomblin's bill. Chris Hamilton, a lobbyist for the West Virginia Coal Association, said he couldn't provide specific numbers, but that drug and alcohol use are definitely a problem in the industry.
"There's clear evidence that there are drugs and alcohol involved in accidents within our industry," Hamilton said. "How widespread, what percentage, we don't have hard, fast statistics on that. But it is a problem, and we have a zero tolerance."
McAteer said any industrywide policy should include treatment options, providing a balance between safety on the job and helping employees who develop a problem -- especially if they got hooked on drugs while being treated for a workplace injury.
"All of us are vulnerable to temptation and to additions, and that goes for everyone," McAteer said. "How do we fix the problem? That's what we need to address."
Phil Smith, a spokesman for the UMW, said some union agreements on drug testing allow workers to be fired after their first positive result, but that the UMW tries to negotiate language that allows workers to seek treatment and not lose their job if they admit they have a problem.
"We believe that people should have the opportunity to get treatment," Smith said. "No question about it."
Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion and a UMW representative, said labor and industry have been involved in intense discussions since the legislative hearings to try to find a compromise.
"I'm certainly supportive of setting some minimum standards, and getting some data to see what kind of a problem we have out there," Caputo said. "We need to deal with facts and with real data."
Late Friday afternoon, the Governor's Office issued a statement in the name of mine safety Director C.A. Phillips.
"We are fooling ourselves if we think substance abuse does not occur in West Virginia's mines," the statement said. "Substance abuse does not stop at our borders and it is not just a problem in our neighboring states. As a former coal miner, I would not want to work beside someone who is impaired on drugs or alcohol."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.