Relatives of three miners killed in West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch disaster are in Washington, D.C., to press for the passage of long-stalled mine safety legislation by July 4.
Gary Quarles lost son Gary Wayne in the 2010 explosion that killed 29 Massey Energy miners. Also making the trip are Betty Harrah, who lost brother Steve, and Clay Mullins, who lost brother Rex.
They’ll be meeting with House Democrats who back the 2010 Robert Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act.
The National Mining Association opposes it, and House Republicans have delayed any action.
Mullins tells West Virginia Public Broadcasting the trip shouldn’t even be necessary. He says laws imposing tougher penalties on bad operators should have been passed long ago. Massey’s mines are now owed by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.