West Va. Panel Wants Greater Role in Mine Probe

The West Virginia panel that writes mining safety rules wants to join state and federal inspectors underground as they work to figure out what caused last week's explosion that killed 29 men.

Typically, the state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety reviews the inspectors' reports after they complete an investigation of a mining fatality. This time, the group of union and industry officials wants to join them in Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch as they try to determine the cause of worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970.

Administrator Joel Watts said the board will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to map out its role in the current investigation.

Searchers went back inside the wrecked mine Monday to pull out more bodies.

Separately, federal and state investigators prepared to launch their probe of the explosion that occurred last Monday night. President Barack Obama said he wants a report by next week

Authorities have said that high levels of volatile methane gas may have played a role in the disaster. Massey has been repeatedly cited and fined for problems with the system that vents methane and for allowing combustible dust to build up.

Massey CEO Don Blankenship has strongly defended the company's record and disputed accusations from miners that he puts coal profits ahead of safety.

More on the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion:

Churchgoers Honor 29 Dead Miners
Mine Area Mourning After Missing Bodies Found
Recovery Operations Begin at W.Va. Mine
4 Missing W.Va. Miners Found Dead
W.Va. Miners' Search Nears End, Officials Say
Funerals Begin for Miners
Funerals Begin for Miners Killed in W. Va. Explosion
Rescue Halted as Mine Air Turns "Explosive"
Photos: W. Va. Mine Explosion
Mining Company was Cited on Day of Blast
Miners' Families Cling to "Sliver of Hope"
Mine Worker: "There are no Safe Mines"
Coal Mine CEO Blankenship's Revealing Tweets
W.Va. Coal Mine Blast: The Victims
Recent Fatal U.S. Mine Disasters
Mines not Paying Fines a Familiar Story
Gov.: "No Excuse" for Mine Safety Flaws
Eerie Statement from Miner Killed in Blast