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House Committee investigation reinforces UMWA's position on Crandall Canyon disaster and need for S-MINER Act

May 8, 2008
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United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

"The investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor into the disaster at Utah's Crandall Canyon mine last August provides further confirmation of what the UMWA has said from the outset: The plan submitted by the mine operator for mining the coal was flawed and should never have been submitted, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) should never have approved it.

"We have gained further knowledge of what happened at Crandall Canyon as a result of the technical analysis included in the report Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) issued today, as well as more insight into the actions the company and MSHA engaged in that eventually led to this tragedy. That is valuable information, and we hope that further investigation by MSHA itself and others addresses these issues.

"The Committee has referred some of its findings to the Justice Department for further investigation. We believe it is now incumbent upon the Justice Department to fully and completely investigate these matters, without regard to where that investigation may lead.

"Yet for all the analyses, all the insights and all the investigations, the fact remains that nine miners are dead today who should not be. Family members have wept and been left inconsolable. Wives, parents and children are without husbands, sons and fathers. Our nation and its leaders can no longer watch these tragedies unfold, wring our hands and say, 'how horrible,' then stand aside and do little to prevent them.

"Further congressional action to prevent tragedies like Crandall Canyon from happening is needed, and needed now. Rep. Miller and others in the House have taken the first step by passing the Supplemental MINER - or S-MINER - Act. I urge the Senate to take up this critical legislation without delay, so that America's miners will at least have some sense that their government does, in fact, care about whether they live or die."

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