As the second anniversary of the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine approaches, West Virginia's congressional leaders are weighing on the subject.
On Wednesday, April 4 U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va) had this to say on the matter:
"Two years ago, 29 good and decent men perished in the Upper Big Branch Mine - a tragedy that never should have occurred. From that day forward, April 5, 2010, was destined to be remembered as the day of one of the worst coal mine tragedies in this Nation's history. I continue to hoe, however, that it may also be a date that marks a turning point in our national commitment to miners.
"I remain determined to do all that I can to ensure that no coal miner ever again feels helpless to stand up for his own health and safety. I remain committed to working to pass legislation that will prevent bad-actor operators - a small minority of our coal companies - from calculatingly breaking the law and putting their own miners in danger for the sake of profit. I remain committed to ensuring that our federal mine safety system possesses the resources and personnel that it needs to fulfill its mission to keep our miners safe.
"On this April 5, I will think of those 29 men and of their families still families still feeling the pain of loss. It is my hope that, on this day, this Nation will remember the miners of Upper Big Branch by recognizing the debt we owe all coal miners and their families. Let us commit ourselves to ensuring that the 29 miners of the Upper Big Branch Mine leave a legacy of needed improvements to our national mine safety system."