Report on the August 6, 2007 Disaster At Crandall Canyon Mine

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 7, 2008

News release: March 6, 2008 “Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released an investigative report entitled “Report on the August 6, 2007 Disaster At Crandall Canyon Mine.” The report discusses the findings of Chairman Kennedy’s investigation into the events leading up to the mine collapse. Chairman Kennedy said, “The Committee’s investigation has revealed that the owner of Crandall Canyon mine, Murray Energy, disregarded dangerous conditions at the mine, failed to tell federal regulators about these dangers, conducted unauthorized mining and — as a result — exposed its miners to serious risks. MSHA also unconscionably failed to protect miners by hastily rubber-stamping the plan. This is a clear case of callous disregard for the law and for safety standards, and hardworking miners lost their lives. This deserves a full criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. The report’s findings greatly underscore the urgent need for mine safety reform. I am committed to working on a bill that would prevent other such disasters from happening.”

  • Report on the August 6, 2007 Disaster At Crandall Canyon Mine – U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, March 6, 2008. See also Crandall Canyon Mine Exhibits.
    • “In the early morning hours of August 6, 2007, a large mountain “bounce” occurred in the Main West section of Crandall Canyon mine. “Bounce” is the technical term used to describe a collapse of this type in a mine, but it does not capture the force and explosive power of the event – “blast” would be much more apt. In such a powerful release of seismic energy, the coal in the pillars and walls of the mine, under extreme pressure, literally explode into mined out areas…This report does not examine the extensive and complex rescue effort which began on the morning of the collapse and effectively ended on August 31. Nor does it seek to determine the cause of the August 6 and August 16 fatal collapses. The Secretary of Labor has tasked an Accident Investigation Team with determining the proximate cause of these events – its work is ongoing. Instead, this report examines (1) how mine operating company Murray Energy Corporation (“Murray Energy”) conceived, designed, and tested its plans to mine the barrier pillars in the Main West section and (2) MSHA’s review of those plans and its monitoring of safety conditions during mining of the barrier pillars. These events stretch back a year prior to the accident to when Murray Energy purchased the mine in August 2006.”

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