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August 6, 2:48AM MDT:  University of Utah seismologists reported a "mining induced" earthquake.  140 miles away, at the Crandall Canyon Mine, retreat mining caused 69 acres to collapse, under the weight of 1500' of sandstone.  

Bob Murray, of Murray Energy Corporation, became the face of the disaster.  And the Liar-In-Chief.

Reports are in:  from the Senate Committee, House of Representatives Committee, Mine Safety (hah) and Health Administration, and Labor Department.  

Memorials are going up, one later today, and one on September 14, 2008.

In memory of those who died, in honor of those who survived, and to hold those who are guilty accountable, please join me to explore what happened and what we still do not know.  

Don Erickson
Luis Hernandez
Brandon Phillips
Manuel Sanchez
Kerry Allred
Carlos Payan

Dale Black
Brandon Kimber
Gary Jensen

Nine hard-working men with families died.  Six were injured during the rescue attempt.  

I'm going to share the memorials first, as I am nearly too distraught to write about anything else.  

From Salt Lake City's local ABC affiliate:

The anniversary of the first deadly cave-in is being marked Wednesday when family members dedicate a circle of nine tombstones commissioned by mine boss Bob Murray in a serene spot of Crandall Canyon.

I wonder if Mr. Murray will attend?  I wonder if anyone could arrest him.  

A local artist named Karen Jobe Templeton designed the most beautiful and touching memorial, and worked with the families in the conception and planning of the project.  Full details are available at the artist's web site.  I find the dimensional faces so touching and meaningful - 6 of these families have no other grave for their loved one.  The six men killed in the initial collapse are on the left, and the three would-be rescuers on the right.  

Resources:
dailykos.com diaries (70)
Committee on Education & Labor, House of Representatives
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Senate
Seismology Reports, University of Utah
ABC4, local Salt Lake affiliate
Arianna Huffington, August 6, 2008
Wiki
Sun-Advocate, local Price, Utah newspaper article.

Rant/Monologue

Bob Murray lied at every possible opportunity:  "It was an earthquake that caused the cave-in," "We'll find those men, we know right where they are," and on and on.  

The coal from Crandall Canyon mine goes to the Intermountain Power Plant.  The generated electricity pollutes Utah and Colorado skies.  Utah men died.  Los Angeles and 26 other California municipalities get the electricity.  

27 relatives and 2 survivors have filed suit, and two other families retained separate legal council.  

Richard Stickler, head of MHSA, is such a loser he was RECESS-appointed TWICE.  I sure wish the House and Senate had more pro forma sessions earlier in this administration.  

MHSA has levied the largest evah fine against Murray Energy and its partners in the mine ownership.  Of course, we all know what happened to Exxon's Valdez fine.  

Jim Matheson (D-ino), in whose district the tragedy occured, has been supportive of the families and community from the beginning, as has Gov. Jon Huntsman (R).

Orrin Hatch, with his brother-in-arms Michael Enzi, protested the Senate report at the time it came out, saying that the "partisan" report was biased, and only professional mine investigators could do a proper job.

The other Utah congressmen, Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon, were not notably active.  Nor was the junior Senator, Bob Bennett.  Of course, they are all Republicans Of course, we know to which political party the coal industry's money flows.  

MHSA released the report to the families the morning of, and the public the afternoon of, the most important day in Utah dominant culture:  Pioneer Day, noting the arrival of the LDS pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.

Despite the hazards, coal mining jobs are very hard to turn down:

Coal mining can dangerous, but few workers quit after last summer's twin disasters. Miners pull down around $65,500 a year, double the region's average wage, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services. They can make $20 an hour their first day on the job and collect full family health insurance benefits at no
cost.

The Engineers who designed the mining plan have blood on their hands, too.  From ABC4, linked above:

Recklessness by Agapito Associates "directly contributed to the death of nine people," the mining agency said.

This entire episode is another example of The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein.  George W. Bush's administration and the tactics of his capo, Karl Rove, decimated workers' rights and protections.  The mining industry was free to use and abuse workers for the sake of making money.  

One of the competing mining companies actually shut down their operations in the region (bringing economic hardship) because they were afraid of additional episodes.  

Coal mining:  kills people with mining accidents.  Kills mountains with MTR.  Kills people with pollution.  The Navajo Reservation just received permission to build a coal-fired electric power plant.  

Questions:
Will any of the principals ever serve jail time?
Will the families receive meaningful compensation in the foreseeable future?
Can we work together to bring jobs to these community in renewable energy - jobs that pay living wages and will help heal the earth?  

I would like to try some actual investigation on my own, and report back on August 16.  I'm interested in any plans by the Attorney General of Utah to file charges.  How the families and community are doing.  

My clock is chiming 2:45 and I'd like to publish this.  I'm having some troubles with Preview and scripts running, so hopefully I'll see all of you soon.  

Update: I published (finally) my original diary after finding a bogus link.  Additionally, I am totally annoyed by this:

NYT:  Chaos on the Mountain
The Old Grey Lady can feature the death of adventurers on their front page at the same moment of this anniversary of the MURDER of miners in the USA.  

The hometown Salt Lake Tribune has nothing on the front web page.  They did have an article on Sunday.  The mining disaster apparently brought family divisenss.  Thanks to Bob Murray and Richard Stickler.  This article, also from Sunday, is a more factual review.  

Originally posted to Jenn's Corner on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 02:20 AM PDT.

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