June 06, 2012

Manchin, Rockefeller & Rahall Meet With Families Who Lost Loved Ones At Upper Big Branch Mine

Discussed the Importance of Passing Comprehensive Mine Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall, today issued the following statements on meetings with the families who lost loved ones at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.  

The group of families met with Rockefeller and Rahall today and will meet with Manchin tomorrow.  

“Congress needs to recognize the urgency of passing mine safety legislation, and I’ve been very frustrated that it has yet to happen.  I greatly appreciated meeting with these families today who unfortunately know from personal experience the dire need for comprehensive mine safety reform,” said Rockefeller.  “I introduced my bill two years ago, and while we have made some progress on other mine safety fronts, this critical bill still hasn’t passed.  We must address the problems that led to the disaster at Upper Big Branch, and we owe it to these families, and all the current and future coal miners and their families, to pass crucial reform.  We absolutely cannot wait for another disaster to take place and mine safety must be a key focus.”

“The families of the victims of the Upper Big Branch tragedy are always close to our hearts.  Our most precious resource is our people, and I am determined to do everything I can to keep our miners safe,” said Manchin, who cosponsored Rockefeller’s mine safety legislation.  “As Governor, I was proud that we made important progress in improving mine safety.  As Senator, I have and will continue to make mine safety a priority, and I look forward to meeting tomorrow with these families who have lost so much but who continue to give so much back to the community.  My commitment to each one of these families is to try to prevent any other family from enduring what they have.”

“I was honored to meet with these family members who came to Capitol Hill on a selfless quest.  They have waited for more than two years for the Congress to act so that other miners’ families would be spared a tragedy like the one at UBB, and I am in full support of their mission to get a bill passed by Congress,” said Rahall.  “We have a bill in the House that I am cosponsoring that would address loopholes exploited by Massey at UBB, and go a long way toward saving lives of miners on the job today.  I have committed to these families to keep working for these sensible reforms and to honor the memory of the 29 brave miners we lost in that senseless, preventable tragedy.”