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Once again, attention is focused on mine safety (8/10)

August 10, 2007
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As efforts continue to rescue six trapped miners in Utah, many are now asking why the tragedy happened.

"We don't have an explosion. We don't have a fire which creates a terrible situation of carbon monoxide poisoning so the air should be pure to breathe on the other side of this fall," said Cecil Roberts of the United Mine Workers Association.

Following the Sago Mine tragedy in January 2006, a federal law was passed requiring safety equipment at mines to make the workplace safer, including wireless communications.

"Wireless communication, two-ways underground, is not technologically feasible today. Somebody may find the invention tomorrow, but today it doesn't exist to the degree that everybody has the confidence it's going to work in every part of the mine," said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association.

He cautions to wait for the investigation into this accident before playing the blame game, because he says a variety of factors could have played a part in this disaster.

"I suspect out of this will be another effort to say 'oh, we need another law.' We don't need another law. We need to work on the law we passed to see if it will in fact work," said Raney.

A spokesperson for Governor Joe Manchin said the governor spoke with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman on Monday and again on Tuesday. He offered any assistance needed in the rescue efforts.

Source: West Virginia Media

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