Coal Tattoo

That’s the video of the speech Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., gave today calling on the Senate to pass more mine safety legislation, this time by “unanimous consent.”

You can read the whole thing here, and this is part of what Sen. Rockefeller had to say:

The families of the Upper Big Branch miners are wondering what’s the hold up? And, quite frankly, so am I.

We have a responsibility to pass meaningful workplace safety legislation this year and anything short of that is really unacceptable to me and should be to all of my colleagues in the Senate.

… Our nation’s workers should not have to wait any longer for this legislation.

Sen. Carte Goodwin, D-W.Va., also delivered a speech on the issue, saying:

Moving forward, as we develop technologies to ensure that coal continues to play a vital role in our economy, we must also focus on ensuring that our miners and mines are safe. And it is not just about preventing or investigating disasters like what happened at Sago and Upper Big Branch. Rather, when tragedy strikes in our coal mines, it is usually far away from the glare of the TV cameras. All too often, a coal miner is seriously injured, or perishes, and a community and family mourns quietly.

In addition to the 29 coal miners who died in the Upper Big Branch disaster, another 15 coal miners have died in our country this year—and it’s only September. Sadly, these deaths go unnoticed by the majority of our country, but the loss is just as great to the families.

Everyone must be committed to safety—each and every day, and each and every shift.

I know that my colleagues here in the Senate have taken this task seriously. The changes brought about after Sago and Aracoma were significant. I participated in drafting legislation in West Virginia that provided a basis for the federal Miner Act—the first comprehensive mine safety legislation in nearly 30 years—requiring safety chambers, self-rescuers, and extra supplies—all designed to give miners a better chance to make it out alive if there were an accident.

Our task, however, is not complete. In his final months of service to our state, Senator Byrd worked with Senator Rockefeller to create and pass even more comprehensive mine safety legislation. During my brief tenure, this has been a fight I have been honored to carry on. And even if this task is not completed while I am here, I have every confidence that this body will continue to work hard on safety legislation.

Here’s the video: