WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 14, 2010
I rise today to honor the memory of the 29 miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine and to express our gratitude to the rescue teams who bravely pursued a tragic recovery mission.
The nation watched in collective apprehension last week as mine rescue teams rushed from the coal fields of Appalachia to the small town of Whitesville to help their own. For a week, we all clung to the hope that four missing miners might have found refuge. It was not to be.
Over the weekend, the mine rescue teams performed a more solemn duty: bringing these men out of the mine one final time. Under the best conditions, mining is dangerous work. After an explosion, the mines are even more treacherous. Mine rescue teams undertake rigorous training and exercise valiant resolve. Today we recognize their bravery in the face of danger and tragedy. H.Res. 1236 honors their commitment to service.
Chairman Miller has announced our intention to investigate this tragedy and seek answers on behalf of the families and the entire mining community. Our focus must be to determine what caused this devastating loss so we can prevent it from ever happening again.
The cameras have gone elsewhere and this tragedy has faded from the hourly broadcasts. For the families, however, the devastation of the Upper Big Branch mine will never disappear. With this resolution we offer our condolences and we honor their loved ones.