Obama presses for answers on U.S. mine safety

08:52, April 09, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama has tasked federal mine safety officials to report next week on initial assessment of the cause of a devastating mine explosion that killed at least 25 people, the White House said Thursday.

In a statement, the White House said Obama will meet next week with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Mine Safety and Health Administrator Joe Main on mine safety.

In a deadly blast Monday at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia operated by a Massey Energy subsidiary, nearly 50 km south of the state's capital Charleston, at least 25 miners perished and 4 were unaccounted for, making it the worst coal mining disaster in more than a quarter century in the country.

Obama expects Solis and Main to report on their early assessment of the explosion's cause, safety record at the Upper Branch mine, and steps the federal government should take to improve safety enforcement and prevent future tragedies.

The White House said Obama wants to know "what actions could prevent further tragedies in this industry."



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