Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on July 26, 2012 @ 7:24PM
Created on July 26, 2012 @ 1:57PM
Mine safety became a big issue after the Sago Mine Disaster six years ago. Some new policies were made, but the call for stricter standards became a lot louder after the Upper Big Branch Tragedy killed 29 miners two years ago.
When Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act of 2012 Thursday morning, it was no surprise that many of his fellow lawmakers and labor officials were quick to praise it.
The act proposed two big changes. It would require increasing the number of emergency rescue chambers in mines to more than 300 locations in more than 180 mines. It would also put more than 40,000 new personal breathing devices in underground mines.
Both the President of The United Mine Workers of America and Senator Joe Manchin pledged their support. They feel there's no question that lawmakers need to do everything they can to make our mines safer for our workers so we can avoid another tragedy.
Cecil Roberts had this to say. "The improvements contained in this legislation will go a long way toward addressing many of the shortcomings of the law that allowed tragedies like Upper Big Branch to occur."
He also singled out the increased protections in the bill against black lung disease. Roberts said the disease is on the rise once again and that strong actions, like these increase protections, must be taken immediately to fix the problem.
Senator Manchin told 5 News Thursday afternoon that the time to pass this bill is now; "We're all tired of hearing simple rhetoric. We've been talking about these reforms for far too long. It's time for all of us to sit down together, to put our parties and our politics aside, and do the right thing for the safety of our miners."
Stay with 5 News to find out when the senate votes on this and if it passed or failed.
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