WASHINGTON (AP) -- An agency watchdog says the Mine Safety and Health Administration has never developed a reliable system for identifying mines with safety problems despite more than three decades of trying.
The Labor Department's inspector general blames the failure on a 32-year lack of leadership among agency officials and a process that fell victim to competing interests of the mining industry and labor unions.
The report followed the April explosion that killed 29 men at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine. The mine had a lengthy history of safety violations, but a computer error allowed it to evade heightened scrutiny.
Democrats in Congress say the report shows the need for mine safety legislation to revamp a broken system.