West Virginia’s U.S. Senators visited a Beckley Coal mine with the labor secretary on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta went underground at Arch Coal’s Beckley Complex. They were joined by the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Wayne Palmer.
“West Virginians know far too well the importance of keeping our miners safe on the job, having endured tragedies like the one that claimed 29 lives at the Upper Big Branch mine. From company leaders, to MSHA officials and career inspectors, to miners themselves, there are many people who play important roles making sure that the coal that powers our nation is mined safely and that workers return home to families at the end of their shifts. I was proud to host Secretary Acosta in West Virginia today so that we could hear directly from miners and gain from their knowledge about this vital industry and ways to improve their health and safety. Our visit highlighted the importance of continued efforts to protect our miners, and was an opportunity for him to see firsthand how this important industry contributes to the state’s economy,” said Senator Capito.
“Touring a West Virginia coal mine with Senators Manchin and Capito gives me a first-hand appreciation for the dedication of the men and women who work in the more than 13,000 mines around the country,” said Secretary Acosta. “Through their hard work, America’s miners fuel our modern-day life. The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all miners work in a safe and healthy work environment.”
“I’m glad that Secretary Acosta accepted my invitation to visit West Virginia and we got the chance to tour the ICG Beckley, LLC Pocahontas Beckley Mine in Raleigh County today,” Senator Manchin said. “Seeing first-hand the operation of a mine, the environment in which our miners work, and the skill it takes to operate sophisticated machinery underground, changes your perspective on the health and safety of these miners and how dangerous this profession really is. I look forward to working with him to make sure that every miner gets to return home safely to their family at the end of the day.”
The group took a mantrip into the mine and observed the operation’s continuous mining machine. The mine they toured employs 170 people and produced nearly 1-million tons of coal in 2016.