U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement officials are right in their reluctance to release only partial results of testing at 73 West Virginia impoundments used to contain slurry waste from coal mines. Backed by state regulators, the OSM wants to ensure its data is accurate.
OSM officials are being pressured to release more information on a draft report that indicates only 16 of the 73 impoundments are in compliance with federal guidelines.
Such concern is quite understandable in West Virginia. Some people still remember the coal dam collapse that killed 125 people in the Buffalo Creek valley in 1972.
So, while the agency's examination needs to be accurate, it also should be expedited. OSM technicians should make a final report their top priority.