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Mine Safety

June 24, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 24
Are new laws needed to protect workers?
By Daniel McGlynn

Introduction

Family and friends gather on April 10, 2010 (AFP/Getty Images/Kayana Szymczak)
Family and friends gather on April 10, 2010, to mourn the 29 coal miners killed in a methane gas explosion five days earlier at the Upper Big Branch mine near Beckley, W. Va. (AFP/Getty Images/Kayana Szymczak)

In the wake of last year's deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia — the nation's worst mining disaster in 40 years — Congress is considering new mine-safety legislation, and federal officials are tightening enforcement of existing laws. At the same time, the strip-mining technique of blowing the tops off mountains to access coal deposits, known as mountaintop removal, is under increasing scrutiny by environmentalists. Critics argue that while the nation needs coal as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, mining companies must do a better job of protecting workers, natural habitats and communities located near mines. Industry officials argue that stricter government oversight will hinder their ability to extract coal, ultimately putting miners out of work and making energy more expensive.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Coal Industry
Jun. 24, 2011  Mine Safety
Oct. 05, 2007  Coal's Comeback
Mar. 17, 2006  Coal Mining Safety
Apr. 21, 1978  America's Coal Economy
Oct. 25, 1974  Coal Negotiations
Nov. 19, 1954  Coal in Trouble
Apr. 04, 1952  Coal Supply and European Rearmament
Jan. 22, 1947  Labor Costs and the Future of Coal
Jul. 24, 1935  Stabilization of the Bituminous Coal Industry
Jan. 01, 1929  The Anthracite Coal Situation
Dec. 01, 1928  The Bituminous Coal Situation
Jun. 30, 1927  The Bituminous Coal Strike
Aug. 15, 1925  The Bituminous Coal Problem
Aug. 01, 1925  Strike Emergencies and The President
Jul. 25, 1925  Miners' Wages and the Cost of Anthracite
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Mining
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