Remembering the 29 men who were killed 3 years ago today at WV coal mine

Three years ago today, April 5, 2010, at approximately 3:02 pm (ET) a coal dust explosion ripped through Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia.   Twenty-nine miners were killed by the blast, suffering fatal injuries from the explosion itself or from carbon monoxide poisoning.  They were:

  • Carl Calvin "Pee Wee" Acord, 52
  • Jason Atkins, 25
  • Christopher Bell, 33
  • Gregory Steven Brock, 47
  • Kenneth A. Chapman, 53
  • Robert E. Clark, 41
  • Cory Thomas Davis, 20
  • Charles Timothy Davis, 51
  • Michael Lee Elswick, 56
  • William "Bob" Griffith, 54
  • Steven "Smiley" Harrah, 40
  • Edward Dean Jones, 50
  • Richard K. Lane, 45
  • William Roosevelt Lynch, 59
  • Joe Marcum, 57
  • Ronald Lee Maynor, 31
  • Nicolas Darrell McCroskey, 26
  • James "Eddie" Mooney, 51
  • Adam Keith Morgan, 21
  • Rex L. Mullins, 50
  • Joshua Scott Napper, 25
  • Howard "Boone" Payne, 53
  • Dillard "Dewey" Persinger, 32
  • Joel "Jody Price, 55
  • Gary Wayne Quarles, 33
  • Deward Allan Scott, 58
  • Grover Dale Skeens, 57
  • Benny Ray Willingham, 61
  • Ricky Workman, 50

The Charleston Gazette's Ken Ward Jr. writes that some Members of Congress are renewing their calls to strengthen the federal Mine Act.

"'It is not enough merely to think back, to mourn, and to wish,' said Rep. Nick J. Rahall, a Democrat whose district includes the site of the April 2010 explosion. 'That does not do justice to those we lost. We must act.'"

Ward quotes from a statement issued by Congressmen George Miller (D-CA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT):

"While many on Capitol Hill have turned their attention elsewhere, some of us refuse to forget that horrible day and the promises made to the families that we would act to prevent future tragedies."

These and a few other Congressional Democrats have introduced the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1373).  As we mark the third anniversary of a mine safety disaster that could have been prevented, I'll note that neither the U.S. House nor the U.S. Senate has held a hearing on a bill to improve miners' safety.


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I'm hoping Congress puts aside its pettiness and goes for this bill. Alas, it's not been the case for even signing a UN treaty for disabilities which we as a country serve as an example for.