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W.Va. Bishop Challenges Industry, Regulators Over Mining Tragedy

Hajra Shannon
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | May 07, 2010

It seems that the criticism aimed at the coal industry and government safety officials following last month’s deadly West Virginia mining blast has far transcended lawmakers and unions. From the altar, Michael J. Bransfield, Catholic Bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, also took up the issue recently, arguing that it was only a failure to prioritize safety that led to the deaths of the 29 miners in Montcoal. The Arlington Catholic Herald published the quotes.

“Can those entrusted with the protection of miners be trusted to fulfill their jobs and enforce the laws?” Bransfield asked during a mass in Wheeling last month, according to the paper. “We must know the difference between what happens by accident and what can be prevented by good safeguards and adequate technologies.”

In a thinly veiled reference to the EPA’s recent moves to protect Appalachian streams from mountaintop removal, Bransfield asked, “If West Virginia can supply our country with so much energy, can we expect the protection of the life of our miners to take the same priority as the protection of the ecology of West Virginia?”

Bransfield also had some words for the rest of the country — consumers, all of us, who flip on the lights without a thought to the men and women who risk their lives to keep that service dirt cheap.

“Our country should realize that West Virginia pays too high a price when we turn on our electricity,” Bransfield said. “We must reflect on what producing this energy truly costs.”

(But don’t hold your breath on that one.)

Hajra Shannon | Hajra Shannon has been assisting clients with writing difficulties for over four years. She will help with ghost writing, coaching, and ghost editing. Her experience in family science and journalism has provided her with a strong foundation from which to approach a variety of topics. She loves writing resumes for people who are changing professions in particular.

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