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Front Page » September 18, 2007 » Opinion » House resolution honors miners
Published 3,450 days ago

House resolution honors miners

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Floor Statement
Sept. 5, 2007

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.

I would like to recognize and thank Chairman Miller and Ranking Member McKeon, of the House Education and Labor Committee for their support of this resolution. I would also like to thank my colleague from Utah, Mr. Bishop.

I rise today to honor the sacrifice and the courage of six missing miners and three rescuers who died in a mine disaster at the Crandall Canyon coal mine in Huntington, Utah just a few weeks ago.

In the early hours of Aug. 6, the six miners were trapped when rocks and debris exploded off the walls of the tunnel where they were working, more than 1,800 feet under ground. The cave-in created a ground shock that measured 3.9 on the Richter scale at the University of Utah's Seismograph Center

Very quickly, rescue crews assembled in an effort to locate and reach the six men, but to date Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Juan Carlos Payan, Brandon Phillips, Manuel Sanchez and Jose Luis Hernandez are still missing.

Ground movement�what the miners call "bumps" or "bounces"�continued at the mine. During the rescue attempt, further disaster struck. Three rescue miners�Gary Jensen, Brandon Kimber and Dale "Bird" Black were killed when�once again�underground activity caused a burst of rubble to explode off the cavern walls. Rescuers had to literally dig their colleagues out from beneath piles of coal and rocks. Their efforts saved another six rescuers, who were injured, but are recovering.

Throughout this catastrophe, the local community has remained steadfast. The Emery County Sheriff, his deputies and other first responders worked around the clock to maintain order as private, state and federal teams maintained the search effort.

Community leaders and the families of these mining towns in Emery and Carbon Counties came together to support the trapped miners' families, the rescuers and the emergency crews. They did what they have always done in coal country during hard times - they held each other close, they hoped and they prayed.

Today, the House honors the missing and the dead. We extend the condolences of our nation to their families. We recognize the many volunteers who rushed to their aid and who provided endless hours of compassionate support.

And finally, we honor the proud national heritage of coal mining families. Their skill, their hard work and their dedication contributes to the prosperity and quality of life that each and every one of us enjoys.

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September 18, 2007
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