In honor of the April 5, 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will participate in a memorial with the victims’ families. The event will be held today in Whitesville at 6:00 PM and last around 90 minutes. State dignitaries as well as the Whitesville community will also attend, paying tribute to the deceased.
This was the worst U.S. coal mining accident in 40 years. As the Wall Street Journal reports, families of the deceased miners filed at least 10 wrongful-death lawsuits against the owner of the mine, Massey Energy Co.
Former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin selected Davitt McAteer, to conduct an examination of the explosion. McAteer found that the accident resulted from oversight failures by both the company, as well as federal and state safety regulators.
The Wall Street Journal quotes McActeer saying, “It is without question that the prevention systems failed, and that includes company inspections and government inspections.”
Massey Energy released a statement yesterday, in regards to the one-year anniversary:
“As the one-year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine explosion approaches, Massey Energy continues to extend our sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to those families and communities who lost loved ones in this tragic accident. The Company remains fully committed to a thorough and comprehensive investigation that seeks to identify the primary causes of the explosion and provide answers to the UBB families and the communities we serve in Central Appalachia.
“In honor of the beloved miners that we lost in last year’s accident, Massey Energy will idle production and hold a safety stand down at our 92 underground coal producing sections on April 5, 2011. In addition, Massey will conduct a company-wide, one minute and twenty-nine-second moment of silence at 3:02 pm EST to pay tribute to the 29 miners who died in the UBB explosion.”