WV's Rockefeller Will File Mine Safety Bill Soon

"We are just a few months into the year, and seven coal miners have died on the job -- including five in West Virginia in separate incidents," he said during a March 27 roundtable about the issue.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., told attendees at a March 27 about mine safety that he’ll soon reintroduce a bill focused on increasing mine safety. Rockefeller called for a comprehensive approach that includes stronger laws, safety training, and the development of new safety technologies. Rockefeller convened the roundtable just ahead of the third anniversary of the Upper Big Branch disaster.

"Frankly, we don't need any more wakeup calls. Our eyes should be wide open to the safety risks our coal miners face every day," Rockefeller said. "We shouldn't minimize the progress that's been made, but the fact remains -- and recent incidents show -- that major reforms are needed to protect West Virginia's coal miners. In the coming weeks, I'll reintroduce my mine safety bill, with input from stakeholders like those gathered today, and aggressively work for its passage. "We are just a few months into the year, and seven coal miners have died on the job -- including five in West Virginia in separate incidents. Five coal miners with families who loved them and are mourning. Five too many."

The roundtable panel included representatives of the United Mine Workers of America, the coal industry, government regulators, the private sector, higher education, and an Upper Big Branch family member. "There is no silver bullet. There never is. But what we need is an open, honest look at what works," the senator said. "We know stronger laws can make mines safer, we know effective safety training saves lives, and we know how important it is to have the best technologies with our miners underground. Making our mines safer will take all of us working together -- and that's what today represents."

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