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Union Says Shutdown May Be Cause of Mine Deaths Union Says Shutdown May Be Cause of Mine Deaths

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Union Says Shutdown May Be Cause of Mine Deaths

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One union says the shutdown is endangering coal miners.(FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Is the government shutdown responsible for the deaths of three miners? It's a possibility, according to the United Mine Workers of America.

"The circumstances surrounding each of these fatalities are different, and I do not want to draw immediate conclusions as to their causes based on incomplete evidence at this time," the union's president, Cecil Roberts, said in a statement. "But it is extremely troubling that within a week after the federal government shutdown caused the normal system of mine-safety inspection and enforcement to come to a halt, three miners are dead."

 

Roberts went on: "The shutdown means that there are fewer mine inspectors on the job.... [N]o regular inspections are taking place, even though they are required by law. The government's watchdog isn't watching. Safety violations that would normally be caught and corrected as a result of those inspections are being missed. Even the smallest violations, when allowed to accumulate, can lead to dangerous conditions very quickly in a coal mine."

Miners died Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in three separate incidents.

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