It's disappointing and sad that Congressman Matheson has joined up with the House of Representative's most extreme environmentalist, George Miller of California, to introduce this bill this week which will do very little, if anything, for mine safety, but could easily shut down mines unnecessarily throughout Utah, and indeed, throughout the U.S.
I served four years with George Miller in the U.S. Congress and I witnessed, up close and personally, the hostility he has for mining, whether open pit or underground.
With my 25 years experience in the mining industry supplying blasting products, I have come to respect all but a very few mine operators and owners for their attention to and concern for the safety of their employees. I tried, for the most part successfully, to make this point in the Congress to my colleagues whenever we were considering mine safety legislation. However, my words to George Miller and his small band of extreme environmentalists in the House always fell on deaf ears.
Congressman Matheson has forgotten that the Miner Act of 2006 is not yet even fully implemented. There is no need to rush prematurely into this brand new wide-ranging legislation.
I am, like most Utahns, very heart-broken over what happened at Crandall Canyon. Because of my background in the mining industry, many people have asked me what I think about Crandall Canyon, Bob Murray, possible safety violations, retreat mining, etc. Admittedly, I have my suspicions; but, I have always answered: "I'll tell you when the investigations of the Crandall disaster are complete." That is what Congressman Matheson should have told Congressman Miller when Miller asked him to co-sponsor this politically correct but unnecessary and very likely damaging piece of legislation.