House Asked to Delay Probe of Mine

House Asked to Delay Probe of Mine

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal Labor Department wants a House committee to delay an inquiry into the August 6th Utah mine collapse, fearing it could jeopardize the administration's own investigation.

The department is trying to slow down the House Education and Labor Committee, which plans to interview witnesses Wednesday and hold a hearing in October on the accident.

Nine people died in two cave-ins at the mine. The accident has led some to question the performance of the government's mine safety agency.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the committee's chairman, Representative George Miller (a California Democrat), the department argues that by asking their own questions, lawmakers could "taint" the Mine Safety and Health Administration's ability to bring civil or criminal charges. The agency is still investigating the accident.

Miller says he's going ahead anyway.

He says the families of the men who died and active miners all over the country deserve an objective review of the tragedy to try to prevent future tragedies.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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