From the office of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) comes this statement, in which the nine-term senator vows to discover “who was responsible” for yesterday’s explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, and to “hold those parties accountable.”
That’s about the same message coming from the other West Virginia lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the wake of the disaster. But then Byrd goes a step further, blasting Massey for its history of violations at the Upper Big Branch:
At least 25 coal miners have died inside a mine that has over time amassed scores of safety violations, including 57 citations just last month. West Virginia’s coal miners are the backbone of a great nation that depends on their work. They deserve nothing less than a safe working environment, and an employer who respects and values their safety.
We must reexamine the health and safety laws we have put into place and what more may need to be done to avoid future loss of life.
The Charleston Daily Mail reported today that inspectors have found more than 3,000 violations at the Upper Big Branch in the last 15 years, most recently being last month.
Four miners are still missing, but rescue workers have delayed their search due to high levels of methane gas in the mine.
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