13 April 2010

Remembering the Fallen

One week has passed since the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine, but not without a brief ceremony marking the hour of the blast that killed 29 miners and injured two more, The Associated Press and others report.

AP also described the memorial while reporting on the arrival of federal investigators "to begin piecing together what caused the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970." Several hundred people held hands, prayed and offered a moment of silence as they thronged around a statue honoring West Virginia's coal miners outside the state Capitol.

"Four black-ribboned wreaths were placed at the memorial, as more than a dozen family members of those killed looked on," that article said. "A bell rang 29 times for each of the fallen miners. During a moment of silence that followed, sobs could be heard both from the family and the crowd."

Joining the family in mourning were Gov. Joe Manchin; U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd; and a number of state legislators and Manchin administration officials.

Earlier in the day, Manchin told AP that "West Virginia can respond to last week's deadly mine explosion by targeting other mines that may harbor similar dangers." Manchin singled out violations involving methane, coal dust, ventilation and rock dusting as deserving greater scrutiny.

"But Manchin said he also wants the state to target the most serious violations without hitting delays caused by legal proceedings," that article said. "The governor said his administration is reviewing what additional measures may be needed to ensure that."

AP also reports that New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, "trustee of a retirement fund holding more than 300,000 shares of Massey stock worth $14 million, on Monday called for CEO Don Blankenship to resign immediately." That call was echoed by "William Patterson, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based CtW Investment Group, which works with union pension funds," AP reported. "Blankenship didn't immediately return a call seeking comment."

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