10.02.07

ENZI SAYS CRANDALL CANYON INVESTIGATION MUST BE THOROUGH, NON-POLITICAL; URGES PATIENCE, NOT A LEGISLATIVE QUICK-FIX

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member ofthe Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today said that theinvestigation of the tragedy at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah should be thorough andnon-political, and urged lawmakers to resist the temptation to enact quick-fix legislationbefore that investigation is complete. “The Crandall Canyon Mine tragedy deserves a thorough, non-politicalinvestigation, and appropriate action if warranted,” Enzi said. “We must determine howthis accident could have been avoided, and how the rescue efforts could have been bettermanaged. We can honor those whose lives have been lost by acting to ensure that thetragedy will not be repeated.” “However, no tragedy should become an opportunity for political posturing. Notevery accident will require legislative action, so we must wait until all the facts are inbefore we determine what course to take.” Enzi delivered his comments at today’s HELP Committee hearing titled “RecentMine Safety Disasters: Issues and Challenges.” Several family members of miners wholost their lives at Crandall Canyon attended the hearing. “A tragedy like Crandall Canyon has a profound impact on the loved ones ofthose whose lives have been lost,” Enzi said. “My wife and I send our prayers andsympathies out to all of them, especially the families here today.” Enzi said that there is an understandable, but not always productive, tendencyamong those involved in regulating the mining industry to react to the last accident withsignificant fatalities prematurely, rather than taking a wider view of best practices andlearning from every accident, fatal or not. He noted that one of the goals of the MINERAct (Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act), the bipartisan legislationpassed last year under Senator Enzi’s Chairmanship, was to break that cycle. “The MINER Act stands for individual, mine-based accident prevention insteadof a one fits all approach,” Enzi said. “With that law, we required that every minebecome as best prepared as possible for an accident. We raised the standards for rescueteams, breathable air, communications technology and seals, among other things, andsought to turn the power of American inventiveness toward creating improved minecommunication and rescue technology.” Enzi emphad that the MINER Act has been in place only 16 months, andsome of its provisions have not yet become effective. He urged his colleagues to allowexperts to investigate the Crandall Canyon tragedy thoroughly before considering newlegislation. “The MINER Act was the first major revision of the Mine Safety and Health Actin 28 years. I believe it is appropriate to wait at least 28 months and allow the law to befully implemented before changing it.” ####

Press Contact

Craig Orfield (202) 224-6770

Related Files