Gov. Mark Schweiker called on the General Assembly to adopt legislation to update Pennsylvaniaís over 45-year old mine safety law as part of the 5th anniversary celebration of the Quecreek Mine Rescue in Somerset on July 28.
Gov. Schweiker lead state and federal rescue efforts for 77 hours, from July 24-28 in 2002, as the worldís attention and prayers were with the nine miners trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine.
The final report of the Governorís Commission investigating the Quecreek Mine Accident made a series of recommendations on changing administrative procedures, regulations and the deep mine safety law itself to help prevent mine accidents in the future.
Most of the administrative and regulatory changes have been made by the Department of Environmental Protection, but changes to the 1961 deep mine safety law have been stalled.
Sen. Kasunic (D-Somerset) introduced Senate Bill 949 and Rep. Bastian introduced the companion bill-- House Bill 2619-- in 2005 to update the law. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held two days of hearings on the Senate Bill in January 2006.
No action has been taken on either bill and neither bill has been reintroduced yet this year because of continuing disagreements between DEP, the coal industry and mine workers.
The House this year did pass House Bill 483 (Bastian) that would create the Mine Families First Program to ensure that families who have loved ones involved in a mine accident receive information first about rescue efforts before the media.
To watch the remarks of speakers at the anniversary,visit the Video Blog:
∑ Gov. Mark Schweiker urges passage of deep mine safety legislation;
∑ Joe Sbaffoni, DEPís Director of Deep Mine Safety;
∑ Bill Arnold, President, Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation;
∑ Kevin Stricklin, U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration;
∑ Larry Neff, Pristine Resources-Beth Energy Drilling Services; and
∑ Overview of the anniversary celebration and the mine rescue site.
For more information, visit DEPís Quecreek Mine Accident webpage.
NewsClips: Quecreek Rescue Taught Some Valuable Lessons
Miners, Officials Visit Quecreek on 5th Anniversary
Quecreek Rescuers Reflect on Miracle
Quecreek Celebrates 9 for 9 Anniversary
5-Year Anniversary Marked for Quecreek Miners
Miners, Officials Visit Quecreek on 5 Anniversary of Rescue
Here All Lived: A Mine Miracle, Five Years Later
Quecreek: As It Happened