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Fourth Circuit upholds decision maintaining UMWA safety experts’ participation in Sago investigation

January 31, 2006

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The UMWA is pleased the Fourth Circuit Court upheld Judge Maxwell’s decision of last week not to stay his order which allowed UMWA safety experts to participate as miners’ representatives in the Sago mine investigation. Frankly, the Fourth Circuit could reach no other decision.

“The law governing mine accident investigations - the federal Mine Safety and Health Act - and the regulations that have been promulgated as a result of that act are very clear with respect to who can and should be involved. Judge Maxwell found that those miners who requested UMWA representation in this investigation had a right to do so. He also found that the Mine Safety and Health Administration has acted properly in recognizing those miners’ rights and their designation of the UMWA as their representative.

“The International Coal Group clearly does not like the law, nor does it like the courts’ rulings. That’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that the law is being followed, and that the investigation is going forward. The UMWA will continue to be an objective participant with no other agenda in this investigation than to get the facts about what happened so that steps can be taken to keep it from happening again at Sago or at any other mine in the United States.”

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