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UMWA President Roberts urges swift action on mine safety legislation

May 16, 2006

United Mine Workers of America President Cecil E. Roberts joined members of Congress, family members of fallen miners from West Virginia and working coal miners on Capital Hill today marking the introduction of tough mine safety legislation by Rep. George Miller (D-Cal.) and others in the U.S.House of Representatives.

“It’s been over five months since the Sago mine blew up and 12 brave men lost their lives,” Roberts said. “Since then, fourteen more coal miners have been killed in our nation. The time for talking about improving safety in the coal mines is over. Congress must act, and act now. America’s coal miners and their families cannot wait.”
Several legislative initiatives have been introduced in both the House and the Senate that would affect health and safety in the mines, including Rep. Miller’s bill. In addition, several states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Illinois have passed legislation requiring improvements that would enhance miners’ ability to survive accidents and stepping up enforcement of existing mine safety laws.

“We applaud the actions of the various states to address significant issues with respect to coal mine safety and health in their states,” Roberts said. “But we need national legislation that will ensure that miners everywhere in America have the same level of protection, the same chance to survive an emergency underground. That’s Congress’s job, and we call on Congress to do its job today.”

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