Trapped Miners and Grandstanding- What about Cornelius Yates?
I received a lot of Emails about this.
The politics after the mining deaths in West Virginia are worth discussion. The emotional Governor stated that three things would be changed. First was tracking devices would be required by all miners. I support that but everyone should know that these devices are not very good in a underground environment. I support using them even though they are not dependable. They could save lives. Would they have helped in Sago or Melville? I doubt it. The miners at Sago may have been found quicker, but most likely still to late. At Melville the rescuers would have known the miners were at the fire zone, but again it would not have gotten them there any faster.
The Governor next said stockpiles of oxygen in the mines. This was absurd and shows what happens when non-miners grandstand. There is no miner who wants tanks of combustible oxygen stockpiled in a mine. The stupidity of that statement is echoed across mining community's everywhere. What West Virginia did pass was a stockpile of the same self rescuers the miners already wear. These will be placed throughout the mine with strobe lights to help miners find them. Will this help? In heavy smoke no. Sago would have benefited but not at Melville. I support this anyway, but a study to make the self rescuers that the miners wear last longer would have been better. The bottom line is this would have saved lives at Sago.
The Governor next addressed rapid response. I know that most thought this would be the key change that would save lives. In fact this only means that the mine has to make the call that an accident has happened in 15 minutes. It will not get a rescue team in any faster. It will not speed up the tests and standards rescue teams must address before entering a mine. Mine rescue is a little different than a house fire. From the emails I have received (over 200 in one day) a lot of people were mislead by the Governors statements and the legislation passed. As I said before there will be much grandstanding but little change. I want safer mining and we are achieving that as records show. I hope we leave this subject to mining experts and not politicians emotionally charged and wanting votes.
I also want to address this. All we heard about was the West Virginia miners. I would like to add that Cornelius Yates was killed in a roof fall and who reported that? Don't be fooled my friends. The press and politicians are not interested in dead miners. They are interested in trapped miners and the emotional toll it takes on family, rescue, company, and friends. It is good press that makes for high ratings and grandstanding by politicians. I should know as I had the highest traffic ever blogging about this. I have been attacked by socialists, received hate mail from unions and others. I have also been thanked for being honest and providing my thoughts from miners and families. What I think most about now is that in eastern Kentucky the family and friends of Cornelius Yates are left wanting.