MSHA agrees to delay W.Va. mine blast hearings

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has agreed to delay the public phase of its investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.

The agency said Friday it will postpone the release of interview transcripts and public hearings after receiving the request from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Goodwin, who oversees southern West Virginia says the release of any material could harm his office's ongoing criminal investigation.

MSHA is investigating what caused last year's explosion that killed 29 and injured two at the Massey Energy mine in Raleigh County.

The April 5 blast was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970.

The agency says it remains committed to releasing the transcripts and holding hearings.

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