Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the second anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster:
"Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in nearly four decades, as well as the single most heartbreaking day of my tenure as secretary of labor. I will never forget the 29 men who perished in an explosion that ripped through the mine, or the two miners who were seriously injured, or their loved ones.
"Since then, my department's Mine Safety and Health Administration has introduced tough new practices to counteract the type of misdeeds that were so prevalent at Upper Big Branch under its operator, Massey Energy. MSHA continues to take major steps toward making sure that we never again see such a senseless loss of life.
"If every mine operator meets its legal obligation to ensure the safety and health of its workers, we can prevent another tragedy like the one at Upper Big Branch from ever happening again.
"On this sad occasion, I commit to ensuring the full human dignity of every coal miner by pursuing violators with the full force of the law. And I vow that those miners and families who suffered so grievously two years ago -- and every day since -- will never be far from my thoughts."