Friday, April 09, 2004

Sludge Report

Reuters is reporting that "60 Minutes" on Sunday will feature a segment on whistle-blower Jack Spadaro, former head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy, who says that the Bush Department of Labor whitewashed a report that held mining company Massey Energy Co., a contributor to the Republican Party, responsible for the "worst environmental disaster in the history of the eastern U.S.," the spill in October 2000 of some 300 million gallons of coal sludge from a containment pond into the Big Sandy River, which flowed ultimately into the Ohio River, contaminating municipal and private water supplies in both West Virginia and Kentucky and killing untold amounts of aquatic life.

"The Bush administration came in and the scope of our investigation was considerably shortened," Spadaro, who helped investigate the spill for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), will say on the CBS show.

Spadaro said the company could have faced large fines and criminal charges.

But he said that MSHA curtailed his report and cited the company for two violations rather that the eight he sought. Spadaro said he refused to sign the report and resigned from the investigation.

UPDATE: Oops! (and thanks to Michelle for pointing this out), but the "60 Minutes" piece featuring Spadaro ran last Sunday, while we were otherwise engaged. Sorry 'bout that.

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