West Virginia Mine Safety Chief Resigns

November 5, 2010

West Virginia’s mine safety chief is leaving.

Gov. Joe Manchin named C.A. Phillips acting director of the Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training this week. Phillips replaces Ron Wooten, who had led the agency since August 2006.

Manchin’s office did not say why Wooten is leaving. However, he had received permission last month from the state Ethics Commission to seek a job in the West Virginia coal industry.

The turnover comes as the agency investigates the deadliest U.S. coal mine explosion since 1970. Miners’ Health Safety and Training is leading the civil investigation of the explosion at Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County. The April 5 blast killed 29 men.

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