Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010

Floor Speech

By:  Carol Shea-Porter
Date: Dec. 8, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Thank you, Chairman Miller, for your leadership on this legislation which deals with issues that are literally a matter of life and death.

After the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch Mine, the committee went to Beckley, West Virginia, to hear directly from the families of the victims. Mr. Speaker, words cannot adequately describe the pain in the room on that day as witness after witness described how their loved ones went reluctantly to work at an unsafe job that ultimately would claim their lives.

This was not the first time we found ourselves sitting across the table from grieving family members who just lost loved ones in a tragedy. In 2007, after the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse, family members came to Washington to appear before the committee, and we heard the same stories.

We know that our mine safety laws are in dire need of improvement. MSHA knows it, and our miners and families know it also. For the miner and his or her family, this bill will make a world of difference, the difference between working in a safe environment or not, and in some cases the difference between coming home or not.

Our mine workers deserve our support. This bill gives support to them. I urge Members to support this.

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