Washington, DC – The U.S. House today passed a resolution (H. Res 1236) introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) honoring the coal miners who perished in the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy in West Virginia, extending condolences to their families and recognizing the valiant efforts of emergency response workers at the site.
“Coal mining has been a cornerstone of this nation since our early beginnings,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “Crucial to our economic development, coal has been the predominant source of energy. Men, women, and families have sacrificed so much over the last two centuries to keep our nation running.”
“Because of the safety hazards and tenuous conditions, our nation has focused on creating and enforcing the most rigorous health and safety standards in the world today. For the most part, these protections have kept miners safe.”
“Yet, as this tragedy reminds us, nothing is for certain. We must go back and understand the conditions and events that contributed to this tragedy to ensure that it never happens again.”
“We will never forget the victims, their families, or of the tireless rescue and recovery efforts by their fellow miners and others critical to our nation’s mining operations.”
The full text of the resolution is below.
H. Res. 1236
In the House of Representatives, U.S.
April 14, 2010
Honoring the coal miners who perished in the Upper Big Branch Mine-South in Raleigh County, West Virginia, extending condolences to their families and recognizing the valiant efforts of emergency response workers at the mine disaster.
Whereas coal mining is a time-honored profession and miners and their families have shaped the history and rich culture of West Virginia and the Nation;
Whereas the Nation is greatly indebted to coal miners for the difficult and dangerous work they perform to provide the fuel needed to keep the Nation strong and secure;
Whereas the Nation has long recognized the importance of health and safety protections for miners who labor in extreme and dangerous conditions;
Whereas accidents in the Nation’s mines have again and again taken the lives of coal miners;
Whereas 29 West Virginia miners tragically perished in the Upper Big Branch-South Mine following an explosion on April 5, 2010;
Whereas this was the worst coal mining disaster in the Nation over the last 40 years;
Whereas Federal, State, and local rescue crews worked tirelessly night and day in courageous rescue and recovery efforts;
Whereas the families of the fallen miners have suffered immeasurable loss; and
Whereas residents of Raleigh County and throughout West Virginia came together to support the miners’ families:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the ultimate sacrifice made by the 29 coal miners lost at the Upper Big Branch-South Mine, Whitesville, West Virginia;
(2) extends the deepest condolences of the Nation to the families of these men;
(3) recognizes all coal miners for enduring the loss of their coworkers and maintaining courage throughout this ordeal;
(4) commends the rescue crews for their valiant efforts to find these miners; and
(5) honors the many volunteers who provided support and comfort for the miners’ families during the rescue and recovery operations.