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April 6, 2010

TONIGHT ON LARRY KING LIVE

Posted: 07:00 PM ET

TRAGEDY IN WEST VIRGINIA

25 dead, 4 trapped deep underground!  Relatives tell us about their fathers, brothers and husbands who risked their lives every day just by going to work!  We’ll have the latest on the search and rescue efforts.

THEN

A man who knows dangerous jobs firsthand, Capt. Richard Phillips!  His ship hijacked by pirates.  Now, hear his unbelievable saga and incredible rescue!

IS COAL MINING WORTH THE RISKS?

Filed under: Larry King Live


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A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 7:14 pm ET

Massey Energy Corporation could likely be a poster child for the Republican lawmakers, Republican and Tea Party members.

Well over 90% of many hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars flowed from Massey Energy to Republican lawmakers. It appears Massey Energy was trying to curtail US Govt.'s safety and mine inspection regulations.

Massey Energy has a troubling past in regards to numerous Coal Mine safety violations, many are pending and huge fines could result unless Republican lawmakers block those fines.

Thanks entirely to the Democratic led Congress, new laws enacted on Coal Mines mandate emergency shelters and radio communication gear to help trapped Coal miners possibly survive a mining accident and probable cave-in.

For many years under Republican led Congress, Senate and Administrations such safety and inspections went entirely missing and many miners that put their lives on the line for these US Corporations died as a result.


D Mann   April 6th, 2010 10:11 pm ET

I think you need to think again. The refuge chambers where mandated under busch's presidency.


Cajazz76:24:8   April 6th, 2010 7:35 pm ET

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV is a Democrat from West Virginia. A former governor for the state, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1984 and re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008.

He is the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; the Chairman of the Health Care Subcommittee on Finance; and the Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Rockefeller also serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Doesn't it seem likely being a former governor and now fifth term senator you could have done just a little while in federal government to help the mining industry in your state?

I know what your answer is... your not on the committee...how sad you are...your just a professional politician....and a whole lot LESS.


Cajazz76:24:8   April 6th, 2010 7:55 pm ET

What could Senator John D Rockefeller have done to make mining safer in his state?.

Let's not look at the Sago mine disaster of 2006 in which over a dozen miner's died, just this current disaster. Senator Rockefeller said he was part of the committee that improved mine safety back then.

You could take companies like Massey Energy, who could care less about federal mining violation's because while they appeal them they can still operate, and make it LAW that when the violation's are not corrected in one shift...shut them down without financial loss to the miners. In other words instead of them making $168,000 per day while skirting the law they make ZERO MINUS ALL MINER'S WAGES.

GEE WHIZ Senator Rockefeller, ever run that idea through committee?


Maria Copelli   April 6th, 2010 8:03 pm ET

Lets pray for these miners and there families.This is so sad ,I wished there were safer conditions, for them,maybe this tragedy will bring more attention ,to the needs of the miners safety first. Love to ALL. love Maria C.


Emily Dorman Webster   April 6th, 2010 8:10 pm ET

I don't think that Coal Mining is worth the risk at all. People who work in mines have a bigger chance of getting trapped, and killed. Its playing with life, and death, and that can lead to consequences.


D Mann   April 6th, 2010 10:28 pm ET

You have better chance at getting in an auto accident than a miner does getting in a mine accident, let alone a mine disaster.


Ramakrishnan   April 6th, 2010 8:33 pm ET

This is a great loss. Mining is considered as one of the most accident prone industry. Coal mining is done mainly to generate electricity. It is high time that we build more nuclear power plants like what France has successfully done.


D Mann   April 6th, 2010 10:24 pm ET

Don't get wrong my heart goes out to the familys at this mine. But mining is not one of the most dangerous jobs in the country anymore. What will ww do with the nuclear waste? Is it safe? Or would it just create new problems?


Dodie   April 6th, 2010 8:37 pm ET

This is a very tragic situation which could have been avoided. Massey Energy has a history of mine accidents. In 2007, Massey Energy received the highest fine MSHA has levied for a fatal coal mining accident totaling $1.5 million for severity of safety violations. The fire in the mine demonstrated Massey Energy's reckless disregard for safety.

I notice their operations are as usual. Safety is the last item on their agenda. This is a very good example of where money comes first and people last! Capitalism at its worst!


Dodie   April 6th, 2010 8:41 pm ET

My heart goes out to all the family members who just lost a loved one from this accident; which might have been avoided! I only hope you band together as a group and confront this economic empire!


MARVIN LAWRENCE   April 6th, 2010 8:44 pm ET

I WORKED IN THE COAL MINES FOR 20 YEARS. I KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE AND HAVE SEEN FOR MYSELF HOW THE COAL COMPANYS GET AROUND SAFETY ISSUES. THE MINES NOW DAYS ARE NOT UNION AND THE MINERS ARE AFRAID TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT SAFETY AND OTHER ISSUES. THE UNION WOULD STAND BEHIND THEIR WORKERS AND THEY COULD NOT LOSES THEIR JOBS IF THEY SPOKE UP. THE COAL MINERS THAT DIED WILL SOON BE FORGOTTEN AND THE COAL COMPANYS WILL DO THE SAME THING THEY HAVE ALWAYS DONE. IT WILL NEVER CHANGE......


IKHAN   April 6th, 2010 8:55 pm ET

@Cajazz,@Dodie.
My sentiments exactly. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the families in this hour of their loss & sorrow.
Bickering among themselves with the only thought of winning the next election on their minds, our politicians are negligent on many of those issues which ought to be on their duty list.
They havn't the will to find a way to end the two wars which are dragging this country down a path which goes no where & are draining this country of precious lives & treasure.
They havn't the will & the gall to stand up to the lobbies & special interests which are fully in the driving seat now.
They do not have the gall to stand up to those who would not let this nation find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict which according to Gen Petreous at the root of all our troubles.
In fact what are they good for??


victor,pennsylvania   April 6th, 2010 8:56 pm ET

April 6th, 2010 8:06 pm ET

no idont think the rules is being regulated is more safety measures need to be tooken. i kno mineing is a hard job & may pay alot but the ceo or director should deal with the law.but no i dont think its safe but people have to make a living.


eugenia   April 6th, 2010 9:01 pm ET

Please Larry, you are able to interview these people. It needs to be main stream.

In the aftermath of the massive Haitian earthquake on Jan. 12, officials have repeated the long-held opinion that "earthquakes cannot be predicted."

That's no longer true.

New electromagnetic techniques (EM) are detecting ominous signs of a killer earthquake's approach. American and French satellites independently detected signs of danger over Haiti three and four days before the earthquake struck, killing an estimated 200,000 people.

Parrot, of the DEMETER program, says EM researchers still have much work to do, but he is heartened by the sea change.

"Now the important point is that some seismologists start to discuss with us," he wrote in an e-mail.

Meanwhile, business isn't waiting on government. Tom Bleier of Quakefinder, based in Palo Alto, Calif., says his 55-station magnetometer network along California's San Andreas Fault already has anticipated two earthquakes in the San Jose-Milpitas area.

Doug Rekenthaler, owner of Radio-Hydro-Physics, which analyzed the data pertaining to Alaska's 2002 quake, is on the verge of launching an all-out tomography effort to image, in real time, 24-hours-a-day, the ionosphere over California.


A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 9:07 pm ET

This particular mine had 6 serious safety violations on its fresh air ventilation system since January 2010.

This particular mine releases an enormous 2 million cubic feet of Methane Gas every 24 hours.

This is a distinct recipe for a mine explosion.

On such a large commercial scale, it is simply impossible to entirely prevent a tiny static produced spark from igniting a build-up of 5% or more of Methane Gas in a mine.

If the ventilation system is inadequate or faulty, an Methane Explosion in this mine is inevitable and almost certain to occur.


eugenia   April 6th, 2010 9:08 pm ET

thank you!


adam friel   April 6th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

The MSHA isnt going to close a mine that belongs to Massey Energy if the MSHA is on Don Blankenship's payroll or his christmas list...


A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 9:11 pm ET

During the horrific Republican led administration of Bush-Cheney, the funding for Mine Safety Inspectors was severely gutted, resulting in a very distinct drop in Coal Mine safety checks and far fewer Federal Mine Safety Inspector employees, go figure!


D Mann   April 6th, 2010 10:33 pm ET

Huh? The decline in inspections I remember was when Clinton was president.


Dodie   April 6th, 2010 9:11 pm ET

@ MARVIN LAWRENCE

Thank you for your blog and enlightening us to the true nature of how coal miners have to endure. I stand up and applaud you for your years of dedication and hard work. I only hope others can read this and gain some awareness!

Thank You Marvin Lawrence


Tammy Marie Rose   April 6th, 2010 9:13 pm ET

I am a journalist from West Virginia who has covered the mining industry for years. Once again King Coal has put profit over people. A dark cloud of shame hovers over West Virginia as our elected officials have happily taken campaign donations from coal baron's and looked the other way when it comes to enforcing the laws that govern mining. The laws are lax and the industry is allowed to sef-monitor itself, clearly leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. We must now ask ourselves why it took a tragedy of this magnitude to bring national attention to the fact that West Virginia mines are not safe. Don Blankenship should be held accountable in a court of law for these 25 lives lost.


Matt   April 6th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

Yes, coal mining is worth the risk. Alot of mining communities are small and that is the only thing keeping the towns from closing down. I am a miner myself and wouldn't give it up for anything!!
Matt


Greg   April 6th, 2010 9:18 pm ET

Coal mining is a risk but here in Westvirgina it is a good job to have my grandfather worked in the mines i know several people that do and love what they do Me and my family pray for the the miners and there family may almighty God bless you all


Frank   April 6th, 2010 9:19 pm ET

With over 450 safety violations at the mine, the attorney general should be looking at bringing manslaughter charges against the CEO and others in charge for EACH and every victim of this tragedy. This was NOT an ACCIDENT, this was willful and deliberate, reckless, disregard for the safety of the workers, the company and those in charge should be held accountable.


A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 9:21 pm ET

@ Matt, how common or uncommon is it for a coal mine to pour out 2 Million cubic feet of Methane every 24 hours? That seems like a huge amount and a major burden on those working on that particular mine.


Janet   April 6th, 2010 9:23 pm ET

Larry,

Thanks for covering the tragic mined situation. My thoughts and prayer goes out to those that have lost loved ones and those whom are waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones.

In regards to your interview with Captain Richard Philips –
How come you never mention that, that was one of President Obama’s first orders…. To do “What ever it takes to “KEEP HIM THE CAPTAIN ALIVE”
The President never hesitated to act at all… He moved quickly and decisively and yet I DO NOT hear any acknowledgement of that fact... Why is that?


John P   April 6th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

yes it's worth the risks everyone in this profession knows the risks and rewards. coal mining is a job just like any other job, we do it for what we love just the same as a soldier dies for his country a miner dies for his family


cain maynard   April 6th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

just waned to say that from the Kermit Volunteer Fire Department, our prayers go out with the families of the lost coal miners. From your fellow West Virginians in Mingo County. And we will be keeping all our lights on tonight and tomorrow in remembrance of these men.


H   April 6th, 2010 9:28 pm ET

My father, grandfathers, and in-laws were all miners. It is a noble profession and these people are the backbone of America. I don't think the mainstream public realizes that 50-60% of our energy grid in America uses coal. Is it worth it?- absolutely. Is it dangerous?- absolutely. Why don't they receive more attention in the media and in the political arena? God bless these families!


peggy   April 6th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

Take Dr. Phil away. He doesn't help.


lee   April 6th, 2010 9:32 pm ET

agree with peggy


A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 9:34 pm ET

The horrific Republican led administration of Bush-Cheney certainly didn't make America safer when he gutted the funds for Federal inspectors for Coal mines and mine safety. The number of inspectors fell dramatically and that resulted in far fewer inspections.


Alan   April 6th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

I've spent 30 years in the mining industry managing mining operations.

There is a serious complacency when a mine incurs a catastrophic accident like this. All of the controls have failed. There is an absence of internal responsibility and the external regulatory authorities have failed as well. You report that MSHA issued 52 citations during March. Although the volume may not be an absolute indication of the seriousness of the infractions the volume does provide an indication of the general level of complacency.

The CEO indicated that federal, state and company representatives concluded the mine was safe to operate. To draw this conclusion following a tragedy of this magnitude is an attempt to abdicate responsibility.


Susan   April 6th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

This is an horrific tradegy, with out a doubt., and it is still unfolding. I'm uneasy about the fact that widows, potential widows, and the likes of Dr. Phil (like he would know?) are already spouting on national TV. Is nothing sacred in the realm of greiving/processing/respect for those who have died? As for Dr. Gupta....I doubt he is, in any way, a practicing MD....he's far too busy being on CNN, reporting live from diaster sites, where he looks to be far less than a participant in actual hands on care


Rob   April 6th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

Dr. Phil says he has spent time in WV??? Does he even know WV is not the West Part of VA?


Joe   April 6th, 2010 9:40 pm ET

The loss of life here in West Virginia was an outrage! The CEO of Massey Energy has a very shady past. Here in West Virginia he spent a large amount of money to get a Supreme Court Judge elected so he could get a court ruling in his favor. I am by no means slandering the CEO, but why was the coal site NOT shut down. The answer is because he can dispute the violation and drag it out in court for months or even years. Just look at what he did to the ABC cameraman when her tried to get an interview.


Justin   April 6th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

As a former coal miner turned law student, I understand the risks involved in the industry. I hope everyone will keep the faith up that these miners will come out alive. Moreover, it is important to keep praying for the families of the miners who have lost their lives. We here in West Virginia unite as one whenever tragedy strikes and continually help each other. West Virginia coal miners are some of the most loyal, dedicated, laborers in America and I hope everyone reading this will keep respecting our miners. Furthermore, please keep the prayers coming to Southern West Virginia. God Bless West Virginia Coal Miners!


ted spires   April 6th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

Larry, the money is the life blood of that county.
They can't afford to close the mines.
And when something happens they turn there backs.
And just on about their job.


Teresa L. McCoy   April 6th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

My father was a coal miner, he died 20 years ago from black lung disease at the age of 57. This profession is in our blood and we are proud people. Thank you CNN and Larry King for the positive coverage in our time of mourning.


DAVID STEVENS   April 6th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

YES COAL MINING IS WORTH IT I REALLY DIDNT THINK MUCH ABOUT IT UNTO 2 YRS AGO I GOT LAID OFF FROM FORD MOTOR COMPANY IN MI AND MOVED TO KY AND WENT UNDERGROUND FOR MASSEY ENERGY, I LOVE BEING A COAL MINER AND VERY PROUD TO BE ONE , YES THEIR ARE DANGER IN IT BUT MINING HAS CAME A LONG WAY AND WILL COME LONGER IN TIME , EACHNITE I GO UNDER THE HILL I KISS MY LOVE ONES AND KNOW THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME I SEE THEM BUT IT A PRICE WE PAY FOR OUR CHILDREN AND SPOUSE AND AMERICA , R HEARTS R WITH THE MINERS AND FAMILY AND WE KEPT A PRAY FOR THEM AS WE GO BACKUNDER THE HILL TONITE , COAL MINER R PROUD OF WHAT THEY DO AND SERIOUSLY IF I KNEW THIS YRS A GO I WOULD HAVE DONE THIS THEN INSTEAD OF WASTING 15 YRS AT FORD , IAM PROUD TO BE A COAL MINER AND TO HAVE SUCH WONDERFUL FELLOW WORKER AS COAL MINER AMERICA NEEDS TO THANK US FOR WHAT WE DO EACH AND EVERY NITE AND TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MASSEY ENEGRY THEY TREAT US GOOD ITS A GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR


casey jeffries   April 6th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

I just want to send out my thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the miners. my husband was in the coal industry for almost 20 years. he used to eat and sleep the coal mines now he works in the steel industry and he still had tears in his eyes when he heard about yesterday. i feel that all of us should realize what these men do for a living and how they help us everyday, i thank all of you that do the work that you do i dont know any of you or you're families, but you have my respect and prayers. god bless all that have parished to help me light up my candle in the window for the miners to find there way to heaven.


Pat   April 6th, 2010 9:46 pm ET

Where can we send funds to help the families left behind?


cowards   April 6th, 2010 9:46 pm ET

It is so easy to point fingers after the fact. Let's worry about the point at hand. Media tries to point fingers but is there anyone in the media that has ever worked in a mine. ?


J.R.   April 6th, 2010 9:48 pm ET

What about the true story as to why these Somali "pirates" do what they do? What about the dumping of toxic waste that many of these U.S., as well as other countries, ships engage in?


coalminerswife   April 6th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

My husband is a safety director at a large coal mine in district 8. although i worry about him when he leaves for work, i'm more concerned about him driving to work than him going underground. thousands of people die on our nation's highways, we have hundreds of soldiers dying while fighting for our country, hundreds of farmers dying every year but yet when a miner is trapped underground it becomes news. coal mining is not even in the top ten deadliest occupations in the United States. mining is however the "deadliest catch" in the U.S. because unless you are a miner you do not understand the industry. although even one miner losing his life is one too many, the media thrives on the loss of these families for ratings and doesnt fully cover the whole story. they shouldn't use one coal company to represent all of the mines in this nation. i can assure you that not every mine company ignores the safety issues that this one did. this is a case of the money being more important and that is truly unfortunate. there is risk in coal mining but more of a risk driving your car. when was the last time the media spent two solid days covering a multi car fatality, interviewing families, etc. pray for the fallen miners and the ones still trapped. let the families grieve and the rescue teams do their work.


John P   April 6th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

did you know dr. phil is really oprah's pool guy


jeff   April 6th, 2010 9:50 pm ET

Coal mining is definitely worth the risk. I am a coal miner and have nearly 34 years underground. At the mine I work in I am absolutely 100% in control of what safety is. I have complete control of my equipment as far as safety is concerned. If i deem a piece of equipment unsafe or find a dangerous condition I have complete authority to shut the whole operation down until the situation is taken care of. Every employee is empowered in this way at this mine. My boss has no say in the matter and his boss has no say in the matter. If it is unsafe we just don't do it. It is just that simple. There's no more risk in mining coal than a police officer going out on a domestic abuse call or a fireman going in to a burning building . We all remember 9/11. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan face dangers 24 hours a day.

Coal mining is a way of life in Appalachia and it is what feeds and clothes my family. It has put my daughter through college. I own my house. Yes , I said house , not mobile home. I make a very good living doing what I do. I have very good benefits provided by my employer. I enjoy a very , very good health care plan , a very good 401k plan and also a pension plan that will allow me a very comfortable retirement.


Jesse   April 6th, 2010 9:51 pm ET

You can tell most of you do not have a clue about Massey or the mining industry in general. Mine inspectors are instructed to write violations on EVERY visit to a mine. With 1 or 2 at a mine everyday for more than 300 days out of the year then 100 or 200 violations are not bad. Most of these are things such as fire ext. not being punched or paper along a belt that they consider a fire hazard. I went with an inspector just this week and he could not find anything to write so found a loose roof plate and wrote it up. There was another plate there but he wrote it and said to conference it. So please look at the big picture before saying Don has MSHA in his pocket or that this mine is a bad mine because of the number of violations. Things are not always what the media makes them out to be.


Brenna   April 6th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

I am a life long resident of West Virginia. I would like to know why the president and all our politicians can do a fund raiser for Haiti why can't they do one for the miners and their families. It really upsets me that the owner of Massey Coal can not or will not call and talk to these families but the people in other states and counties have called them. I would like to let these families know that all mine and my families prayers go out to them in their time of need. Like my husband said earlier tonight how do you know when a politician is lieing? when his lips are moving. I think that the governor and president should get a fund raiser started for these families. My grandfather was a miner until he broke his back in the mines. Alot of people in the United State are burning their porch light in rememberance for these miners and their families. May god bless you all.


G W   April 6th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

I wish that someone would explain how the citations at a mine work.
the msha inspectors see something wrong and write a citation and the mine operator have an amount of time to address the problem and if they don't they are fined. i know this because i used to be a coal miner. so i really think this should be said so that people know how it works so that people don't read to much into the citation situation. although there may be bad citations the mine would not be allowed to operate under unsafe conditions it would be shut down. there are inspectors on site constantly every week. my prayers go out to the families in wv. please aire this to educate the public. it surprises me that the " experts" that come on to these shows don't explains this better. it is though they want it to sound worse than it sometime really is. thatnk you for your time larry and have a good day.


Jesse   April 6th, 2010 9:56 pm ET

Coal mining has less risk than most other jobs in this country. Just look at the number of deaths in the construction industry, police, fire fighters, even grocery clerks. Far more of these people are killed on the job than in a coalmine. We have 20 or so deaths a year and people say this is bad. Don't get me wrong 1 death is too many but we are far more safe than most industrial type jobs. So I say mining is worth the risk to provide energy for the American people and a very nice way of life for my family.


MARVIN LAWRENCE   April 6th, 2010 9:56 pm ET

THE FEDERAL INSPECTERS WERE A JOKE. WHEN THEY SHOWED UP THEY WOULD TELL THEM WHAT SECTION OF THE MINES THEY WERE GOING TO.THE COMPANY WOULD THEN PHONE UP TO THAT SECTION OF THE MINES AND WARN THEM THEY WERE COMING.WHY DO YOU THINK THE MINERS AT THIS MINES ARE AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT.THEY HAVE NO ONE TO WATCH THEIR BACKS, THEIR JOBS ARE ON THE LINE. COME ON LARRY, GET DOWN TO THE REAL PROBLEM. LETS NOT LET THE MEN WHO DIED DIE IN VAIN..........


cowards   April 6th, 2010 10:02 pm ET

Sooooooo. Sooooooo. Wrong. Do you think these miners some who have been on the job for over 20 plus years would put them selves at risk. I guess you are blaming them.? Don't post unless you make a point.


Karen   April 6th, 2010 9:57 pm ET

After listening to all the talking heads who think they know coal mining and coal miners, I have come to the conclusion that the media needs a lesson in objective reporting. Instead of concentrating on the wrongs of Massey Energy, the politicalization of Mr. Blankenship and the "anger" of the community, why isn't attention given to the positives, such as the expertise and dedication of the safety teams, the value of the work of these miners to the US in producing coal, and the community's values? The reporting seems to concentrate on the sensationalism of a terrible accident, with many blaming the company, as if the company willed this to happen. Now is not the time to point fingers- in the US, that comes AFTER evidence is gathered.


Cindy   April 6th, 2010 9:59 pm ET

I look forward to reading Captain Phillips' book. It is unfortunate that some of his crew has turned on him. It smacks of an NFL team winning the Super Bowl and then team members turning on the Quarterback because he receives too much credit.


adam friel   April 6th, 2010 9:59 pm ET

saying that Don Blankenship has the MSHA in his pocket is not listening to the media. THAT is the only reason he hasnt been shut down years ago...


adam friel   April 6th, 2010 10:03 pm ET

sometimes you do crazy things for money


Chad Riffe   April 6th, 2010 10:04 pm ET

The question was is coal mining wort it. Yes it is. I have suported my family for 22 years mining coal. You can blame Massey all you want but the fact is a mine is as safe as the men who are in it make it. For the record I'm not defending Massey. I don't work for them.


Dustin3x   April 6th, 2010 10:04 pm ET

Turn off your lights and see if coal mining is the wrong way to go!


paul   April 6th, 2010 10:04 pm ET

i was born and raised in that area i have friends who work there. my family lives about 7 miles from the mine. the people in that area are the most caring god loving humans on the face of this earth.they take care of thier own and would help anyone who was in need.my heart go's out to the families who lost love ones. your in my thoughts and prayers.


Jesse   April 6th, 2010 10:05 pm ET

Massey takes more heat from inspectors than any other company. Massey mines have double or even triple the inspectors has others do. Don and MSHA hate each other. To say he has them in his pocket shows that one has no understanding of the mining industry. Even with all the inspectors at Massey properties Massey still has less violations than most union mines and is way under the national average of accidents and the NFDL is the lowest in the industry. Please have your facts straight before posting such thoughts.


Rob   April 6th, 2010 10:06 pm ET

I think the last two mines that has had a explosion has been owned by Massy. Massy is giving coal mines a bad name but as long as they keep handing out the buy off money unsafe mines will keep producing coal.


Lee   April 6th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

Yes coal mining is worth the risks. I work for the only underground coal mine in New Mexico and it is the safest mine I have ever worked in because WE MAKE IT THAT WAY. That means that management, and all workers have commited to work 100% safely and follow the rules and beyond. My main job and goal each day as a secton foreman is to make sure my guys are safe at work and go home each day. I have watched the news non stop the last 2 days and offer the most heartfelt sympathy to my fellow miners and the families.


Rob   April 6th, 2010 10:10 pm ET

Least Anderson Cooper is getting down to how Massy operates. About time media!


Lesa   April 6th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

YES! Coal mining is worth the risk! I am the wife of a PA coal miner. He works underground for a large mining company, and his company is focused on safety first. Unfortunately there are companies that do not put safety first, and this creates a negative view towards the entire industry. Coal mining is a dangerous job, and every miner and their families are aware of the risk. When something happens that creates national interest, industry outsiders always point their finger and offer their opinions – sorry but unless you grew up in a coal mining family or have family who currently work in the mines you really have no idea. I am very proud of my husband and the work he does.

Safety should be the first priority of every company in every industry – not just mining. Reading posts here and on other sites it just seems so many have a negative view of the mining industry. It's too bad, because coal mining is the backbone of this great nation.


adam friel   April 6th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

do you think Don Blankenship has lost any sleep from the death of 25 of his employees. he is probably more upset that the little bit of down time cost him money..


Dan   April 6th, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Yes its worth it! dont you think every other job in the world has risks? just because something happens everyone wants to be against minig when it keeps the lights on! And i support my family with the mines and it puts clothes on our backs and food on our tables! Maybe if these big riggs would try to walk one day in our shoes they wouldnt be so negative about the mines!


D Mann   April 6th, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Has it ever occurred to anyone that driving on the highway is more dangerous than ug coalmining?


Lee Massa   April 6th, 2010 10:19 pm ET

Why is the company allowed to keep operating when they have been sighted time and time again for violations. They are fined but almost never pay the fines. Check and see just how much of the fines are collected. What good is it to have Federal Mine Inspectors.
The coal companies are only after the all mighty dollar. They don't care for the men or their families.


Cajazz76:24:8   April 6th, 2010 10:20 pm ET

There is so much more than coal in the states of Kentucky and
West Virginia and it's the reason those who mine live there. So
I offer these words that I know so many there know..the song I am
sure is still popular. If I was a miner who met his fate deep within
the earth I would want it played at my wake.

Paradise
Written by John Prine.

When I was a child, my family would travel,
To western Kentucky, where my parents were born.
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered.
So many times that my memories are worn.
And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
"Well I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin'."
"Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away."
Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River,
To the abandoned old prison down by Aidrie Hill.
Where the air smelled like snakes: we'd shoot with our pistols,
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.
And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
"Well I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin'."
"Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away."
Instrumental break.
Then the coal company came, with the world's largest shovel,
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land.
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken.
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
"Well I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin'."
"Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away."
When I die, let my ashes float down the Green River.
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam.
I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin',
Just five miles away from wherever I am.
And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
"Well I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin'."
"Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away."


Terry Vance   April 6th, 2010 10:20 pm ET

I am a former miner from southern WV. I spent 20 years working on surface mines, underground mines, and around preparation plants. You have to be a part of this type community to understand what is going on in their lives. The true coal miner never goes to work worrying what is going to happen, they leave that for all of the outsiders to second guess everything they do. Everyone that works at these facilities know the risks they take daily to perform these jobs. Their families also know the risks and they learn to not let their fears control them.

The thing that irritates me most is that they are ridiculed for doing the only jobs they know and have. If someone has a lot of money to put in factories like they have here in TN where I live now, I am sure a great amount of people would probably change professions. As you can see by the film footage, these are remote areas with a 2 lane highway, because of the terrain, no factories will ever locate here.

These miners make 60,000 dollars plus a year, a lot more than the average factory workers make, and they supply a product that the entire US needs to have electricity, and for steel making.

I was employed By A T Massey Coal Co. for 10 years, and it was a unionized company at the time, so the safety issues were addressed immediately. The were also not traded on the open market, it was a family owned business at the time. You can thank the Reagan administration for locking the unions out and helping to create some of the problems they experience now. You haven't seen an explosion in the last 20 years at a union backed mine. It is time for the country to wake up and see what really causes these ordeals. It is driven by the corporate greed of Don Blankenship, who keeps tabs on the tonnage from every mine, every single shift.

I pray for these families for their losses ,and it hurts all the coal miners. I hope that things will change in the future to make these mines safer for everyone involved.


Tess   April 6th, 2010 10:35 pm ET

My heart goes out to the families of these miners. Some of these men were friends, some fellow workers of my husband, all were family. Coal miners are a rare breed and they do what they do to provide for their families and to also provide an energy source for this country. We do not have enough resources in this country to provide the energy that each and everyone of us takes for granted each day. Without coal everyone would have to cut back on the amount of energy we consume. As for the safety of these mines, if a man thinks that he is working in an unsafe environment and is afraid for his job, he can make an anonymous call to the MSHA field office for his mine and an inspector can come out to inspect the area for the violation. My husband has worked for 31 years in the mines. He has been a general laborer in a union mine and also bossed union mines. He has worked for non-union mines. He also was a federal mine inspector. I have nothing but respect for these men and women who risk their lives every time they go underground. Please think of them when you turn on the lights in your homes, or use your appliances or computers etc. and say a little prayer that they come home safely to the families that love them.


Brandon   April 6th, 2010 10:39 pm ET

I am going to try to be professional as I write this. I really wish the media and all the people writing on this blog would truly understand the facts before they open their mouth. Mining is not even one of the 15 most hazardous occupations and has not been for many years. Furthermore, the violation rate and the safety of a mine are two completly different things, The majority of citations that are written in mines are not of a serious nature and are just technicalities. I am a coal miner and if Idid not feel safe to go to work every day, then i would not go. Sometimes things happen for what ever reason, but the companies cant keep being blamed for everything. It is not the 1920 coal camps anymore. There are companies out there who do care about their people. There are lots of other problems that need addressed way worse than the mining industry. I hate it that we have lost fellow miners and my heart is with the families, but this is not as big of a problem as people make it out to be. There are more people who die in car wrecks every month than did in the mines last year, and nobody is wanting to take cars off the road. Also, do you people really under stand how important that coal is to our nation? Maybe you should think about it and do some research before you comment on our way of life.


R   April 6th, 2010 10:46 pm ET

Hello My. King,
I would like for my name not to be publicized,because I use to work for Massey Energy, hauling Coal in semi dump trucks in 2006. I use to have a Massey Coal sticker on my truck bumper. I noticed when out shopping or been at my Church, my tires were being deflated, for months. I have a 2007 Ford F150, which has the balancer indicator, that would light up on my dash to let me know that my tires were off balance 'n I could even see it with my naked eye, when I'd go some where at my home in my driveway. Mr. King, there are alot of Union Miners here in this state, that Hates Massey 'n Hates anyone who works for them or worked for them. I hate to say this, but my thoughts 'n feelings on about this terriable disaster, is, I could guess, that someone in the Union Mines, could have possibly planted something at the entrance of the underground mines, to cause this disaster, knowing that Progress Mines has had alot of fines in the past. Since it was lightning alot the other night, the Union Mine Workers could have thought that with an explosion that the inspectors would probably come to a conclusion that lightning played as factor, just like one other time, when lightning was happening at the other mines when it had a mysterious explosion.

I was being harrassed so much last year, with my tires being deflated, I finally had to take my Massey Coal bumper sticker, off of my back bumper on my truck. Yes, I am a Woman, a Coal Miners Daughter. I also, have taken the Underground Mining 80 hour class. I still have a valid Surface Mining Card 'n the Underground Mining Card, good till this Dec. 2010.

I truely feel heartfelt sympathy for all those hard working Miners 'n their loving families. I truely understand what they could be thinking about 'n how hurtful their hearts are right now. Our State has alot of Union Miners that truely Hates any Non-union Coal Miner. Please do not pulicize my name or vehicle, please! Thanks for listening. My Prayers have been for them all since I heard the sirens 'n ambulances going down route 3 west, past my home, Monday afternoon. Anonymous


Reta   April 6th, 2010 10:57 pm ET

Mr. King,
Yes! Coal mining is worth the risk, when it's for our Country 'n people to make a good living 'n others to enjoy luxuries. I'd wrote you before explaining about the Union Mine Workers hating anyone working for Massey Energy, a Non-Union Coal Company. Why would nothing happen for months 'n yrs. but then when a lightning storm happens to be in that area, a supsicious explosion happens? There's too many crooked Men/Women out their in this state, fighting for their Union Jobs! Believe me, I wouldn't put it past someone doing such a terrriable thing. Thinking that no one would get Killed, just some way to put a scare into people working for a Non-Union Coal Company! This is just what I think about the terriable explosion. I could believe that the Union coal miners could possibly do something so dirty 'n underhanded. It's awful how some people have no thought about others, who need jobs to make a living in this world, too.


Lee   April 6th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

My husband was a coal miner for over 29 years.
It is no more dangerous than a fireman, policeman, farmer or any other
occupation.
Every time we turn on a light or run an electric appliance,THANK A MINER AND PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN MINERS.


Hard Workin Coal Miners Wife   April 6th, 2010 11:04 pm ET

First of all what makes me so angry is...Our miners do NOT get paid "well, alot" for this type of work(Dr.Phil stated something like this on tonight's show on Larry King Live) NO amount of money can or will ever be enough for what our miners go through every day that they go to work!!

Another thing is...Did we NOT learn anything from the Sago tragedy? When I say we, I mean MSHA, mine Owners, Inspectors, Bosses, Formans, DON BLANKINSHIP, etc. How mant more lives will have to be lost in order to make the coalmines as safe as they could & should be?

Our miners work in the unsafe conditions because they have to..IF or when they complain they are simply "let go aka fired"..it's as simple as that,no questions asked! Everyone needs to look into the REAL PROBLEMS which alot is GREED!

None of the men's lives matter anymore just money & coal. Alot of times the Inspectors are "paid off" maybe not all but alot. This mine should have been closed until & only until the violations were fixed..this mine should not have been running!

People are even afarid to talk on camera to anyone in fear of loosing their jobs..it has always been this way & always will especially if/when your talking about a Massey mine like this one. Don Blankinship needs out of the coalmine business for good..He isn't good for anything but heartache,greed & deaths!

There are sooo many more things that need to be brought to light & I pray that none of these men die in vain, that the TRUTH will be brought out one way or another.

One of the biggest shocks I have learned throught this is...the rescue chambers that are in some of these mines to help our miners in the wake of an accident are made of NOTHING...these are no good in fires or roof falls so what are they good for, really?!! These chambers are the cheapest made little things..they will NOT help our mines in an accident like this one & probably would not have helped in the Sago accident either.

I just PRAY to GOD that the right people are held accountable for this. These families are in so much pain right now & someone will have to answer for it. I pray that I am alive to see the right person or person "pay" for this..no amount of money will do it but maybe just maybe if all the truth is brought out it will SAVE LIVES NOT KILL MORE!!!!

God,PLEASE be with all the miners, their families..now & in the months of heartache to come


Stefanie   April 6th, 2010 11:43 pm ET

Is coal mining worth the risk? That is a question that I would venture to say that most, not all, but most miners never ask themselves. Coal mining is a way of life here, it is what we know and take pride in.. Coal miners not only support and sustain thier own families but they enrich the lives of almost every american in some way.. If you get up in the morning and your house has electricity and is warm or cool depending on the season, Thank a coal miner for that privilage.. Coal mining faces tremendous scrutiny and attacks by people, entertainers, politicians etc who have no idea what they are talking about... It is not a means intent on destroying lives or the environment but is an industry, a way of life for our region. A heritage that we are all proud to be a part of. To ask is it worth it, ask yourself, how valuable are your basic necessities that are in some way impacted or made possible by the production of coal?


Tara Smith Canada   April 7th, 2010 12:00 am ET

Why don't the miners have GPS locators on their person. Wouldn't it be easier to find them?


Pep   April 7th, 2010 12:06 am ET

Hi Larry, My name is Pep from Toronto Canada.

My question is , What has happened since this disaster to even make anyone believe they are alive,. is there any proof they are or just wishful thing. ?


Crystal   April 7th, 2010 12:09 am ET

Why didn't the safety equipment on the miner shut down? Was the methane spotter on the wall miner defective and did not automatically shut it down? Also the dust level detectors, were they defective as well? The safety driector, pre-shift or fire boss should have been taking constant levels of both gases.

Also regarding black lung: Paul Patton, former Governor of Kentucky, "outlawed" blacklung and the ability to get benefits or even have it recognized as an occupational coal mining disease in the 90's!


serita ayeni   April 7th, 2010 12:21 am ET

this is a shame and to all the families I know God will help ease your pain. The ceo of the company needs to call all the families and explain how sorry he is and then should be shut down for all the safety violations they were over 600 in this past year and that is ****ing crazy. All he cares about is money and he needs to go to jail because money is not more important than someone's life!!!!!!


A. Smith, Oregon   April 7th, 2010 12:22 am ET

@ D Mann, former President Clinton built a SURPLUS of federal funding.

Former President Bush jr. gutted the funding of many essential federal programs which is entirely keeping with the Republican credo, goal and their Corporate Masters marching orders.

Among those programs Bush jr. gutted was that of federal mine inspectors. No federal money means fewer mine inspectors and fewer mine inspections.


A. Smith, Oregon   April 7th, 2010 12:25 am ET

All you Massey Energy lovers, were you aware that Coal Mine emitted 2 Million cubic feet of Methane Gas every 24 hours?

Violation after violation of the fresh air ventilation (6 since January 2010) should have closed that mine until it was resolved.

How do you explain that?


A. Smith, Oregon   April 7th, 2010 12:33 am ET

@ Tara Smith Canada, if you take your satellite dish deep inside a mountain you'd instantly find no reception. Satellite's transmit a very high frequency signal for GPS and it's fairly weak.

To transmit thru thousands of feet of mountain you'd likely need a very low frequency transmitter and far more power than a tiny hand-held two way. Such systems are used to transmit thru the earth to Nuclear Submarines by the US Navy called (VLF Systems, very low frequency).


Eric   April 7th, 2010 12:37 am ET

coal miners across the country all got the chills when the news hit! coal miners are family, union or non union. there is a bond to people in coal country that other industries dont have. we understand what its like in the hole. behind every light swich is a coal miner...


Bonnie Leigh   April 7th, 2010 12:51 am ET

What can we as individuals out here do to offer comfort and our concern and assist in what they may need? My depest respect and sincerest sadness for their loss. Thank you.


Cindy   April 7th, 2010 12:52 am ET

As tears well up in my eyes to hear everyone talking about the miners and their familys, people I never even met, this thought comes to mind when I hear their pain, "Why do I hurt so much, it's because I loved so strong" Their sorrow is measured by the love they felt – such an irony of life...


Stephanie   April 7th, 2010 12:59 am ET

When asked if coal mining is worth the risk, i want to know do you ask this while watching T.V. or blogging on your computer or going about almost any everyday task, then you already have your answer! although at times like this we start to question the risk, almost anything you do that involves power is possible because of the coal that is mined everyday. People who preach green energy are the same people who then plug in their hybrid to use electricity provided by coal. The alternative is to sloely destroy one of the last industied in this country that still provides american jobs and american made power. This industry is one of the last things that keeps us from completely dependent on the global market. Gee, lets import more goods and services from other counties that we can ultimately provide for ourselves(and used to do) because that is serving the economy so well!!!??? By the way i know this risk first hand as my husband is a West Virginia coal and drops 1100 feet underground 6 days a week.


Teresa   April 7th, 2010 1:04 am ET

I am from WV and honestly I think you have to live our lives in order to understand it. Also, the comments made about our miners beng ignorant or uneducated are just absoluted disrespectful and untrue. Many, many of the miners have a college education and they all have the best work ethics, set of more and values, than any one person could ask for. Before you make ur outrageous comments and speculations, live our lives and remember it is our families and loved ones who provide the majority of power that runs this country!!! If you don't believe it coal, then stop using our energy because we are the ones who make it possible for you to live all cozy in your condos!!!!


Brad Kalinoski   April 7th, 2010 1:13 am ET

From age 1 to 12, I lived, went to school, I climbed and played scaring my parents to death, all in the hills in Montcoal WV. I have relatives in Stickney, My father worked in the Number 7 mine, before becoming a coal miner he was a coach at Marsh Fork High School. He has now been retired from Massey for over 15 years.

My parents decided to move to a larger city, Huntington WV to give me a better chance at life other than coal mining. And as I watch this, I now know why my parents made the decision they did. Coal Mining is a way of life in that area, and at 45 years old, its a high probability that I to, could of been a miner in that mine If my family had choose to stay in that area.

Now, my father lives comfortably in Huntington, I live in Los Angeles working in the Film Industry.

I would like to lastly say, CNN, your coverage of my old hometown, and the difficult time they are all having, has been extraordinary, and thank you for showing that coal mining is a way of life. That, although they have a strange lazy way of talking, that they are not stupid hillbillies. I never thought I would see such a small little town on CNN, ever, I just wish it would of never been with a tragedy.
I pray for everyone there, any of my old friends that may of worked in that mine, and for there families.

Hopefully the future of coal mining will be safer. Hopefully Massey will not make a decision to stop mining in that area. This is a way of life for a vast majority of people there, they have little to nothing else to choose from.


kathy   April 7th, 2010 1:16 am ET

I just want to tell you how well you have done covering the Mine Disaster in WV. I am a Coal Miners Daughter and Sister. My dad was in a Mining accident when I was approx 10 years old and I still have 1 brother in the coal mines.He really loves his job even though he is an engineer. I was at work at the hospital ER when we got a disaster call and my heart stopped for a few seconds and brought back many memories. I second thought of my brother, and when I found out it was not at his mines, I began to find out it was a lot of people from the community I grew up in. This had really affected the whole area. West Virginia is a wonderful place to be. People are very close and when something affects one of us, it really affects a lot more people due to what we call a close knit community. Keep up the good work and I am still praying for the miners and families.


mary taylor   April 7th, 2010 1:29 am ET

LARRY,

THERE ARE ALSO BLACK FAMILIES WHO ARE GRIEVING ALSO. HOWEVER, ALL I'VE SEEN THAT THE MEDIA ARE SPEAKING WITH ARE WHITE.


Bob   April 7th, 2010 1:33 am ET

I have been a coal miner most of my life. I love mining, it IS dangerous, which is part of the allure for me. We have had bad times and good times. I've lost friends, my son works in a mine. Drilling for oil is dangerous, building dams is dangerous, our country needs coal to help move into the green era. It is well worth it. We are not paying terrotists blood money for their oil. We are paying AMERICANS for their labors, and of course the operators of these mines still need to be watched and monitored, Thank GOD for MSHA. The anti-coal folks don't know what they are talking about. Have any ever been in a mine? Have they ever been poor and broke? Yeah there are still major problems in the industry, but it is an AMERICAN problem, that we can solve with civil discourse and common sense.


mary taylor   April 7th, 2010 1:34 am ET

THERE ARE AFRICAN AMERCIAN MINERS WHO WORKED IN THE MINE FROM AS FAR AWAY AS OAK HILL, WV. THEY ARE OUR LOVED ONES ALSO. IN FACT, ONE OF OUR LOVED ONES HAD A BROTHER AND A SON WHO WORKED IN THAT MINE.


A. Smith, Oregon   April 7th, 2010 2:39 am ET

Many of the family's here in the Western Region of America worked in the timber industry for many generations. That is one of the most dangerous occupations in America.

The West provided much of the timber used to build homes from coast to coast as well as Europe, Japan and the Middle East.

Horrific and extremely greedy American Corporations unconstrained by environmental regulations clear-cut huge swaths of ancient forests leaving nothing but high level deserts and empty towns when they moved back east.

Fish died from the silt, people died from the landslides and the air was thick with timber slash being burned. It was a ecological and economic disaster directly caused by those greedy corporate timber giants.

Now far less timber is harvested in the Western States however it has far less impact on the environment. The loss in timber revenue is still impacting several entire States in the West, however those same States are beginning to gear their economy's into other viable areas.

Coal mining is likely going to undergo the same widespread changes in the upcoming years.

Sure there'll be those few that cling to 'king coal' but the towns and community's that begin to find other sources of revenue will be the only ones in 'coal country' that survive and thrive.


Theresa   April 7th, 2010 2:40 am ET

It angers me this owner has been allowed to continue operations while numerous violations have been found. This egotistical,profit loving owner needs to be charged for the murders & be held responsible. Some people are saying shut the mine...it sounds to me this is the main source of employmentfor the area. The mine shouldn't have to be shut down if it was owned by a responsible.caring person. The violations should have been fixed...ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!! How can that man sleep @ night , look himself in the mirror? He;s too busy counting his $$$$!!! I guess his way of thinking ..why bother fixing the mistakes...it will eat into my profit...too bad if someone dies...people are replaceable!! What a shame!!!!


kelly   April 7th, 2010 2:53 am ET

Its a sad fact that when jobs are few, people will work at anything. Apparently the miners were "well paid", double the wage of the average job in the area. What does that mean exactly? $40.00/hr $50.00 an hour?

With great benefits...?

I highly doubt it.

I suppose their are some people out there thinking this is about FREEDOM OF CHOICE?

No its not.

With so many safety violations, why do states allow this to happen?They allow It because its called "I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine".

Tougher, much tougher work safe laws in Canada Its interesting that a construction company violated WCB laws in Ontario days before Christmas. The company was ordered to shut the site down until the problem was fixed (the next day). BUT the company just continued their breach of work safe laws on another part of the site, once opened. Four men fell from faulty scaffolding to their death. It was a company based not in Canada, but an American company based in New York.

Having a great community is one thing. DEMANDING that the government and business do their jobs is a SEPARATE issue. This implies ethics, morality and not selling out human life to the "all mighty dollar."


kelly   April 7th, 2010 3:04 am ET

Does anyone know if the Massey Coal company has any connection in the past to Massey-Ferguson, Farming Equipment Manufacturing? They used to be a booming business that made combines in the 1950's, 60,s 70,s and sold out in the 80's?


Family Tradition   April 7th, 2010 4:00 am ET

i've worked in the mines a few years now and i love it!! so when people ask the question " Is coal mining worth it?" the answer is YES IT IS!!!! Coal mining is a way of life here in West Virginia. i'm a 4th generation coal miner and i'm proud of it. coal mining paid for the diapers that was put on my behind when i was a baby and now that's how i put diapers on my children. it's an honest living and very respected. Unless you have spent time underground then you have no reason to put it down!!!! and the same people ask why haven't MSHA been more strict on coalmines? at the mines i work at – inspectors are there at least 3 days a week, so in my opinion MSHA is doing a good job. i work at one of the MOST gasest mines in the state of west virginia and with the precautions that we take it's also one of the safest mines too. people risk their lives everyday driving on the road with all the drunk drivers and drug abusers so there is not much difference. another question that people ask is " should they shut coal mining down?" if law makers shut coal mining down then you might as well turn west virginia into an oversized parking lot for a retirement home because there would be nothing left. cause if you ain't mining coal then your hauling it.... it's our way of life. i thank GOD everyday that i haven't had to face a situation like what is going on now and my heart and prayers go out to all the families of the miners!! i just want to let them know that the mines i work at are praying for them. if you take away coal mining, how are the law makers in the offices going to power their coffee pots and fax machines. CAUSE COAL MINING KEEPS THE LIGHTS ON!!!!!


John Rowley   April 7th, 2010 4:08 am ET

yes, coal mining is worth it. It's not as dangerous as the media leads it to be. It's our lively hood in small towns. When coal miners are at work we are with our other family. We are like brothers who depends on one another. Coal miners are like soldiers, we risk our lives for our country.


B   April 7th, 2010 4:15 am ET

I am a wife of a coal miner in eastern Kentucky. My husband chooses to do this job everyday. He chose this as a profession about eleven years ago and continues today. He provides for our family and yes he loves what he does. I don't think he would be happy doing anything else. Recently he was deployed to Iraq to serve his country. Before leaving he had commented he didn't want to go back to mining once he returned to the states. While in Iraq, I can recall several times how he said he couldn't wait to get back home and go back underground, knowing the dangers that would be waiting there when he returned . It is our way of life here. Almost everyone we know is a coalminer or a close relative of one. My point here is, these men have a chose to do this job and if they choose to do it, then they know well in advance the consequences from it. Sometimes small accidents can occur and in this instance an horrific, unimaginable accident like this one. Why does everyone have to finger-point and have someone to blame? All this is going to do is set a standard for a number of new laws in the mining industry that will ultimately do away with our jobs here and then everyone here will really have something to complain about. All I've heard since this terrible accident is what a bad company Massey is with its "heartless" CEO... The company has not contacted any family members during this whole thing..this is a large company in our area, but nowhere near a big enough company to be handling this accident properly and sending condolences within 24 hours of the accident. I am positive they will be hearing from someone soon enough. Some of these people act like this company made their loved ones go underground. They didn't, their loved one chose this, just like my husband does everyday before he leaves for work. As for Massey and CEO Don Blankenship, they have made sure that my husband had a job for the past eleven years with good pay and very good benefits, which most companies do not provide these days, especially in our area. As I stated earlier, my husband was deployed to Iraq for over 15 mos. to serve his country, what did Massey and CEO Don Blankenship do? They made sure that my husband never had to worry about the financial end of the deal, paying his wages through the whole time he was away and he recently returned to work for them where his job was waiting. At no time was I ever contacted by the company, but they did their part to make sure their employee who served his country didn't have to worry on the finance end of the deal. What a relief off of our shoulders and they did not have to do this. They provide this to all of their men and women serving in the armed forces. Our family could not survive without this job. Our community could not survive without this company. Once the violations that are handed out at each mine site are corrected by the company, they are allowed to resume normal operations. Sometimes accidents occur and in this case a horrific one and my heart goes out to these families and also to Massey. I hate that these men had to lose their lives. I on the other hand, thank Massey for providing my husband with a job for many years and all of the little things they provide that other companies in our area can not and do not.


randy h.   April 7th, 2010 4:33 am ET

Coal mining is definetly worth it ive worked in the mines for years now and it has provided very well for my family. I am also a member of mine rescue team and know the risks involved here as well but still put my work clothes and boots on every day to go to work so you can look at your computer screen and turn on your tv every day , with that being said god bless our fallen brothers at Masseys Performance mine, you WILL NOT be forgotten and will always be in our thoughts


Theresa   April 7th, 2010 8:18 am ET

Some people are saying that Massey has many inspectors that find & report the violations...that may be true...but it is the owner ,CEO that has to have those violations acted upon,fixed !!! Having found the problem & having it reported i s good, repairing the problem is the only way for safety & at this mine this did not happen. People need to wake up & demand these things are done. I know this is easier said than done. I know the owner could threten to close & with many jobs on the line ...people will go to work because they have bills to pay & stomachs to fill! Everyone should be grieving these unnecessary loss of lives!!!!


J.R.   April 7th, 2010 9:29 am ET

Why wasn't my video link on the truth about Somali pirates (in regards to the Captain Phillips segment) posted CNN? Guess the government really does control the media; they don't want the truth getting out, huh!?!?


Bob S   April 7th, 2010 9:57 am ET

The mine I work for, has a crew dedicated to compliance issues. Every day we look for problems in the electrical system, make sure the diesel equipment is functioning properly, we look for bad top and ribs,methane build up, coal accumulations around belt lines. If we cannot fix the problem right away, we contact a bull gang boss and he and his crew fix it. This is the way my mine works on our behalf. There are few, if any, mines that do this. We have been able to cut down on the major safety violations, and in doing this, we have raised the awareness of ALL the miners that work there. WE are responsible for OUR OWN SAFETY. If Massey, or Peabody, or Arch, continue to let safety slip, maybe the Union should step up efforts to organize. Or maybe the government should fund MSHA, in a meaningful way. Our jobs should not hinge on cutting corners, or looking the other way. Coal is essential to National Security, it is essential to the recovery of our nation, the survival of me and my Brothers who are sacrificing their bodies, and lives, in the mining industry. We, who are dying, getting injured, or fired, should not do so, just for the sake of making money for a select few.


vallary   April 7th, 2010 9:58 am ET

My thoughts and prayers go out to each and ever friend and family member. There is a risk in everything we do. But, my biggest problem with this is the Company it had 57 violations knew they did and just paid the fines. The reports aren't showing that they did anything to fix the problems. In this day and times I don't understand why mining has to be this back woods. Why people have to go down in the ground why can't machince. I work for a great company and safety is first always and any cost. They will spend the money first to get the job done right than skip corners and someone get hurt or killed, and they are a very big company as well as the mining company Massey Energy. I seen the CEO on with ABC news last and couldn't believe some of the things he was saying. but, I do wonder has he gone down in that mine or sat in the office that is over seas? Has he looked at a safety procedure has he ask the people that do the job if the procedure would work or not. Get their in put... I really hope things change for the mining community


D. Lucas   April 7th, 2010 11:49 am ET

My prayers go out to the family and friends of the miners from mondays explosion. I lost a brother in 2001 in a mining accident and was very relieved to find out that my oldest brother, Rev. James Lucas, was not in the mines when the explosion occured but waiting outside to enter and begin his shift.
I can tell you from experience, your life will never be the same. The wounds will not heal they will simply scab over and every time you hear of a mining accident that scab will be rip off the wound once again.
Pointing a finger to blame someone else is a natural thing but at the end of the day you're loved ones are not going to be back home.
9 1/2 years later I still miss my brother and think of him often. I just think GOD that my brother Jim is safe. My heart breaks for the families and friends that have lost their loved ones in this horrible tragedy.


Gary LeVan   April 7th, 2010 9:28 pm ET

Can anyone please tell me why these holes they are drilling now, in an emergency to clean the air in the mine shafts are not predrilled in everyone of the mine shafts.So that when something happens like this we do not have to waste time drilling holes to get the gases out now.If they were done prior to this in all the shafts all we would have to do is turn the exhaust fans on now and clear the air ,and go get the men instead of wasting 2 days drilling.It would have to do with something call money and the bottom line.


JOSEPH R ANDERSON   April 7th, 2010 10:22 pm ET

YES MARTINA, IT'S VERY HARD TO GET BOOKED ON LARRY KING LIVE UNLESS OF COURSE YOUR JUDGE JUDY.


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