Saturday, April 24, 2010

NYTimes has major piece on underground coal mining safety

Whereas recently the Obama administration and EPA clamped down somewhat on mountaintop removal, the dangers of underground mining have gotten much more attention recently because of the recent Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion in Montcoal, West Virginia, Massey Energy (United States Mine Rescue Association report (web url) here ).

The New York Times has a major front page story April 23 by Dan Barry, Ian Urbina, and Clifford Krauss, “Dealing with the dangers of coal: Safety practices differ sharply at 2 Appalachian Operators”, with a comparison between Massey and TECO in Hazard, KY. Both mines are non-union. The link for the story is here.

There is a slide show including a picture of a mancar taking workers into the mine.

Remember, in the film “October Sky”, back in the 1950s, future rocket engineer Homer Hickum has to deal with his coal miner father , who insists he remain "loyal" to his family and his town, and follow his footsteps as a coal miner, a job which Homer already sees as self-sacrificial and dead-end. At one point, when his dad gets hurt, Homer has to drop out of school and work in the mines (although the older brother insists that going to work his "my responsibility").

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