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Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on the Mining Deaths at Upper Big Branch South Mine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the statement below following an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia that killed 25 workers, with four workers still missing.  Harkin chairs both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Labor Appropriations Subcommittee.

“My heart goes out to the family members of these 25 men who died, and of the four who are still missing, during this difficult time.  As the son of a coal miner, I know that mining towns are tight-knit communities, so my thoughts are with all of those who may have known these workers or who may have a loved one still missing because of this blast.  I join with them in hoping that the four missing workers are brought to safety.  

“The hardworking people who lost their lives deserve our best efforts to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.  I know that Secretary Solis and her team at the Department of Labor plan to pursue a full investigation, and I look forward to working closely with the Department to ensure that the affected families and communities get the answers they deserve.”