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UMWA President Roberts Statement on Aracoma Alma #1 Tragedy

January 22, 2006

United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

"Our hearts and our prayers are with the families, friends and neighbors of Don Bragg and Ellery Hatfield, brave coal miners who lost their lives in the fire at the Aracoma Alma #1 mine in Logan County, West Virginia. We stand ready to offer any assistance to them and their communities we possibly can.

"In the wake of this tragedy and the explosion at the Sago mine in Upshur County nearly three weeks ago, we strongly support the calls of our political leaders for immediate action to improve the chances of miners surviving situations like these. It is incumbent upon Congress and the state legislatures to take whatever steps they need to take to make sure our federal and state mine safety agencies strictly enforce existing safety rules and regulations in our nation's mines. We must also develop new initiatives that will give every miner a vastly improved chance to walk out of a mine after an accident, alive and well and safe in the arms of their loved ones.

"Just as we have done for 116 years, the UMWA will continue to be in the forefront of this fight. We cannot let the sacrifices of these miners and their families to be in vain."

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