Massey Energy Sues MSHA Over Mine Ventilation

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Massey Energy is suing to strip the federal government of its ability to influence how coal mines are ventilated.

The troubled Richmond, Va.-based coal company unveiled the lawsuit Tuesday. Among other things, Massey wants a judgment limiting the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's oversight of mine ventilation to reviewing plans for consistency with prudent engineering practices.

Massey contends the agency imposed a plan that made it harder to ventilate the Upper Big Branch mine before an explosion killed 29 men at the southern West Virginia operation April 5. Mines rely on ventilation to remove methane gas and coal dust.

Massey says the lawsuit isn't directly related to the explosion.

An MSHA spokeswoman declined to comment.