Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Aides to Sen. Robert C. Byrd are in southern West Virginia for what they call a three-day fact-finding tour about mountaintop removal mining.
Byrd is still recovering from an illness and staph infection and is not with his staff members from the Charleston and Washington, D.C. offices.
But the West Virginia democrat issued a statement Tuesday saying his aides will see mountaintop mining operations firsthand.
They will meet with coal industry officials, environmentalists and citizens.
They'll also inspect flood recovery efforts and talk to people about fears that mining may have made the damage from the spring floods worse.
Byrd says the Obama administration's plan to increase federal oversight makes it imperative that he be well-informed.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)