Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin released the following statement today about the agreement between U.S. Department of Justice and Alpha Natural Resources, a result of the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in April 2010.
"On this National Miner's Day, an agreement to do what is right for the safety of our miners is welcomed.
"The fines, victim's restitution, and safety programs that will be funded through this settlement are a strong commitment to improving mine safety.
"I commend Alpha Natural Resources, who did not own UBB or Massey Energy at the time of the disaster, for dedicating millions of dollars toward research and safety equipment using the latest technology available for its mines as a means to prevent another tragedy. To me, this speaks volumes as to Alpha's commitment to the men and women who labor each and every day to provide us with the coal we need for our energy demands.
"I want to thank U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, Booth Goodwin, and his staff for their unyielding pursuit of what is right.
"It is my hope that this settlement will further encourage our corporate partners--in the coal industry and others--to take a keen look at their practices, update their safety measures, and develop new technologies to protect, precious human life.
"I send my deepest condolences to the victims' families and I, again, commit to them that I will continue to work on improving mine safety so that the loss of their loved ones might save another."