It's been six months since Attorney General Eric Holder was applauded for loosening the Bush-era clamp on government information and telling federal agencies that their records should be presumed public.
So why is a report about a coal-waste spill that happened nine years ago in Eastern Kentucky still top secret?
The Labor Department is resisting release of an uncensored version of an Inspector General's report into allegations of a coverup in the failure of a Massey Energy impoundment in Martin County.
The 60-foot wide hole that opened in the pond unleashed a flood of toxic goo and blackwater, fouling 100 miles of waterways, devastating aquatic life for 70 miles and threatening water supplies in 10 Kentucky counties.
The investigation started under the Clinton administration but was rushed to a conclusion when the Bush crew took over. Massey was cited for only two violations, although the Inspector General confirmed that the investigators wanted to issue at least eight citations.
The IG also concluded that "certain events" alleged by whistleblower Jack Spadaro, who resigned in protest from the investigative team, were true but "did not constitute a cover-up."
About half of the 25-page report was withheld, however. This naturally raises questions about what if anything was being hidden and why. Taking Holder at his word and citing the Freedom of Information Act, Ellen Smith, editor and publisher of the Mine Safety and Health News, has been seeking an intact copy of the IG's report. She's gotten nothing but more redactions.
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