News Release

Statement by Secretary Marty Walsh on the anniversary of the Upper Big Branch explosion

WASHINGTON, DC – On the 11th anniversary of the explosion at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh today issued the following statement:

“Today, we mark the 11th anniversary of the massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine and the needless deaths of 29 miners. It remains the worst U.S. mining disaster in five decades. Today, the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s district manager in Beckley, West Virginia, is laying a wreath at the Upper Big Branch Memorial site in Whitesville to honor the lives lost.

“On behalf of the Department of Labor and its Mine Safety and Health Administration, I ask that we pause to remember these miners and their families for their contributions to our nation, and their sacrifices. Events like these are tragic reminders of the importance of improving miner safety and health. We must take every action possible to avoid terrible events like this, and ensure that all miners return home safe and healthy after every shift.”

Mine Safety & Health Administration
April 5, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Laura McGinnis
Media Contact: Grant Vaught
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