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UMWA praises Kentucky mine safety proposal

January 16, 2007

United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

"The legislation sponsored by Rep. Yonts is an important step forward for Kentucky coal miners, as it places new and overdue emphasis on accident prevention and evacuation.

"We know from hard experience that frequent safety inspections are essential for creating a safe underground workplace, and the current requirement of three inspections per year is woefully inadequate. The proposal by Rep. Yonts would double that number to an annual minimum of six, overseen by the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing. In addition, the bill would make it easier for miners to fend off danger by providing for a fireproof lifeline and increased oxygen supplies along escape routes.

"As Kentuckians tragically learned 16 times last year, including the disaster last May at Darby No. 1, coal miners cannot rely on their employers to do the right thing. Strong regulations, backed by government and union enforcement, are the only way to create a safe working environment."

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