Friday, August 17, 2007

The Black Seam

"We tunneled deep inside the nation's soul,
We matter more than pounds and pence".

words by Sting

Today we hear of another tragedy at the Crandal Canyon mine in Utah where 3 rescue workers have died when a "mountain bump" or seismic action occurred in the mine and collapsed the tunnel the rescue works were digging in an attempt to get to the 6 traped coal miners that have been over a quarter mile below surface since the initial collapse occurred over a week ago. To date, there is no information as to the fate of the 6 trapped miners. Audio and optical equipment lowered into bore holes have only found equipment, but no trace of the trapped miners.

At issue of course is safety. Mining is one of the most hazardous occupations in the world. Even in the United States, where government regulation has vastly improved conditions for sub-surface miners, the job is still incredibly dangerous.

Let's get to the heart of the matter. Do we really need to be mining coal? Of course, the answer is yes, for now. There are not enough alternatives (green or otherwise) that would allow for a cessation of mining in the near term. However, focus should be made on developing new sources of energy that do not pose such hazardous circumstance s for working people.

Mining for coal will be with us for a long time to come. We must do a better job protecting our families, friends and neighbors who work in the mines. Would you be willing to pay more for your electricity if it meant safeguarding the miner? I would, I'm sure you would as well. Let's get word to Washington regarding improved safety measures. I'm not going to make this into a political rant, but more of a plea for improving work-place conditions for people which is a really important matter regardless of political stripe.

Let me know what you think. Our thoughts are with the miners and their families.


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