Obama expresses condolences on W. VA mine disaster, promises to improve mine safety

13:07, April 10, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday expressed condolences for mine victims in West Virginia, saying he will listen to official recommendations to make mining safer.

"This has been an unimaginably difficult week for the people who live near Montcoal," Obama said at the White House, after returning from Czech capital Prague for the signing of a new arms control treaty with Russia. He was referring to the West Virginian mining community where a deadly explosion at a coal mine Monday left at least 25 dead and four unaccounted for.

He expressed condolences to people who have lost their loved ones in the deadly blast at the Upper Big Branch Mine, praising the mining community for the jobs they do to "help bring heat and electricity to millions of Americans."

Obama said in White House that he will be briefed next week by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Mine Safety and Health Administrator Joe Main on how to improve mine safety.

"I've asked my Secretary of Labor as well as the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration to give me a preliminary report next week on what went wrong and why it went wrong so badly, so that we can take the steps necessary to prevent such accidents in the future."

The White House said Obama expects Solis and Main to report on their early assessment of cause of the explosion, safety record at the Upper Branch mine, and "what actions could prevent further tragedies in this industry."

Solis and Main will address safety issues as well as enforcement and legal authorities in their briefing.

Source: Xinhua

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