[Federal Register: April 13, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 71)]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Sago Mine Explosion, Buckhannon, WV, Public Hearing
AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.
ACTION: Notice of public hearing.
SUMMARY: This notice sets a date, time, place and procedures for a
public hearing in connection with the Mine Safety and Health
Administration's and the State of West Virginia's investigation of the
January 2, 2006 explosion at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, West
DATES: The hearing will begin at 9 a.m e.d.t. on May 2, 2006 and at
8:30 a.m. e.d.t. on May 3.
ADDRESSES: Benedum Campus Community Center, West Virginia Wesleyan
College, 59 College Avenue, Buckhannon, West Virginia 26201.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark R. Malecki, Counsel for Trial
Litigation, Office of the Solicitor, United States Department of Labor;
phone: (202) 693-9341; facsimile: (202) 693-9361; electronic mail:
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The hearing will be convened pursuant to
Section 103(b) of the Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977, 30
U.S.C. Section 813(b). The purpose of the hearing is to assist the Mine
Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in carrying out its statutory
responsibility to (1) Determine the cause(s), including possible
contributory causes, of the explosion; (2) identify and develop
corrective actions, procedures and strategies to prevent the occurrence
of similar accidents; (3) obtain, utilize, and disseminate information
related to the health and safety conditions at the Sago Mine; and (4)
gather information with respect to mandatory safety and health
standards. The hearing will be non-adversarial and fact-finding in
nature and questioning will be limited to the statutory purposes.
The hearing will be conducted jointly with officials of the State
of West Virginia. The rules of the hearing are as follows:
1. Composition of the Hearing Panel
The Hearing Panel will be composed of representatives of MSHA and
representatives of the State of West Virginia. The Hearing Panel will
be headed by a Chairperson who shall be selected by the State of West
Virginia. The Chairperson shall have the authority to administer oaths,
regulate the conduct of the public hearing, and rule on any procedural
questions or objections.
2. Witness Testimony
a. Witness testimony will be presented in panels according to
topics selected in advance by representatives of MSHA and the State of
b. Each witness shall take an oath and opening statements or
presentations on behalf of the witness or the panel will be limited at
the discretion of the Chairperson.
c. Witnesses may use visual aids, demonstrative exhibits or
documents but should make arrangements in advance with the Chairperson
to assure that such materials can be adequately displayed in the
allotted time and that there are means by which the objects or
documents may be entered into the record.
d. Following the presentation of witness' statements,
representatives of MSHA and the State of West Virginia may question the
witness and ask clarifying questions.
e. Following the conclusion of the initial statements and questions
by the Secretary's representatives and State officials, a designated
representative of the families who lost relatives in the mine explosion
on January 2, 2006 shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the
witnesses on the panel. The Chairperson shall have the authority to
consider whether the question is relevant and appropriate, and if so,
the witness shall answer the question. Other persons may submit
questions in writing to the Chairperson, who shall ask the questions
that he believes are relevant and appropriate to ask of the witnesses.
All the questions submitted during the hearing shall be retained and
entered into the public hearing record. The Chairperson may direct
specific questions to particular witnesses to be responded to in
writing for inclusion in the hearing record.
f. The testimony of witnesses, including statements and responses
to questions shall be transcribed and made part of the public record.
The transcripts of witness interviews taken during the joint MSHA--WV
Sago accident investigation, including exhibits, shall be made part of
the record of this public hearing unless otherwise subject to
g. Any material or documents gathered pursuant to the Sago accident
investigation may be made part of the record of the public hearing at
the discretion of MSHA and the State of West Virginia.
3. Issuance of Subpoenas
The Chairperson shall have the authority to issue subpoenas for the
purpose of securing the attendance of witnesses to provide testimony
and the production of relevant documents or objects or testimony. If a
witness appears to testify pursuant to subpoena, MSHA and the State of
West Virginia shall pay all normally applicable witness fees.
4. Attendance of Spectators and Media
The public hearing is open to the public; however, MSHA and State
of West Virginia have the authority to put reasonable limitations on
use of transcription devices, videotape cameras, still cameras, camera
lights and camera flash lights. MSHA and State of West Virginia have
the right to restrict persons from entering into the hearing room if
they believe their conduct will be disruptive and have the right to
restrict the number of spectators to the capacity of the meeting room.
Dated: April 10, 2006.
David G. Dye,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 06-3580 Filed 4-11-06; 11:08 am]
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