Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This history should be history

With all due respect for the deceased, and grief stricken families, those still waiting, not knowing if their loved ones are alive, my heart goes out to them, and great sorrow for their situation .

A Horrible horrible process. Tragedies are part of the history of mining coal.
Rockefeller says the sadness in unspeakable, but are they doing anything to stop this tragic history? No. They continue to proclaim Coal is a Clean & Safe energy source.
The president told us that in the last election, and for as much lip service we will hear from the Government, and corporate officials, as soon as this blows over, they will be right back at it.

It's a risk they are willing to take over & over. Supposedly they give workers locator devices, but in an explosion, and potential cave in, it's not clear how useful or if at all of use they are.
Still the methane toxicity of the air in the enclosed space can become instantly deadly.
The government & the big corporations are there for the profit, and continue to allow people to risk their lives for employment in a very dangerous situation.
How many times do we hear this kind of report, in the aftermath of a mining disaster
The underground coal mine has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said. MSNBC reports there were more than 450 violations and sited in 2009.

It ranks among the nation's top five coal producers and is among the industry's most profitable. It has a spotty safety record.

But according to federal records, the Upper Big Branch mine has had three fatalities since 1998 and has a worse than average injury rate over the last 10 years. Two of the miners died in roof collapses in 1998 and 2001, while a third was electrocuted in 2003 when repairing an underground car.

Ellen Smith, the editor of Mine Safety and Health News, said the Upper Big Branch mine had been repeatedly cited for safety violations going back years and continuing this year.

In the past year, federal inspectors fined the company more than $382,000 for repeated serious violations involving its ventilation plan and equipment at Upper Big Branch. The violations also cover failing to follow the plan, allowing combustible coal dust to pile up, and having improper firefighting equipment.

The mine, which employs just over 200 people, uses the "longwall mining" method to tear coal from a lengthy face, leading the ground behind it to collapse. Critics say the method can cause surface subsidence and damage to buildings.

Fans used to remove methane
Methane is one of the great dangers of coal mining, and federal records say the Eagle coal seam releases up to 2 million cubic feet of methane gas into the Upper Big Branch mine every 24 hours, which is a large amount, said Dennis O'Dell, health and safety director for the United Mine Workers labor union.

Since then, federal and state regulators have required mine operators to store extra oxygen supplies. Upper Big Branch uses containers that can generate about an hour of breathable air, and all miners carry a container on their belts besides the stockpiles inside the mine.

Ask the families of the deceased if they think coal is clean & safe.


Fran said...

Sorry, from the president to the safety officials, I'm sick of hearing about deepest condolences, only to know they will just keep doing the same thing.
Notice the company itself has not said much of anything. They did not even officially give lists of names of the deceased. Family members are learning from other sources. I suspect they are deeply involved in covering their corporate asses.

For the record: COAL IS UNSAFE & DIRTY.

There! I said it.

nonnie9999 said...

i wonder how different this story might have been had the workers been unionized. how many of them had safety concerns about the mine but were afraid of losing their jobs by reporting them?

Fran said...

This company had 638 violations in the last several months. It is clear they accept fines for violations as a part of doing business.
If the dangerous mine does not kill you, then long term exposure can. Blacklung is a part of the job hazard. Years of breathing in the coal mine dust.
I think a big part of the answer is right over our heads.

Solar energy.