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.