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Kentucky mine safety legislation "historic and critically needed" UMWA's Roberts says

date: 
March 12, 2007

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
 
"Today's passage by the Kentucky Legislature of sweeping mine safety legislation marks an historic and critically needed turning point for mine safety in the state of Kentucky and in our nation. The legislation offers miners important protections, and will hold mine operators accountable for their failures to do all they can to provide a safe workplace.
 
"The additional inspections required under this legislation are very important, and the UMWA urges the state to be rigorous in its inspection and enforcement activities. As critical as this legislation is for the safety of miners, it will mean nothing if the state doesn't follow through and enforce it.
 
"The families of those coal miners who lost their lives in Kentucky and across America last year have been vital spokespersons in the fight to improve mine safety. The widows from Harlan County and elsewhere provided a very real and needed perspective in this struggle. Without their voices and determination, this legislation may very well not have passed. Coal miners throughout Kentucky owe them a great debt of gratitude.
 
"I also want thank the legislators who worked so hard to get this legislation passed, especially Rep. Brent Yonts, Speaker of the House Jody Richards, Senate President David Williams, Sen. Tom Jensen and Sen. Jerry Rhodes. Their statesmanship and political courage must be commended."

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