Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the Kentucky Darby Mine explosion in Harlan County that killed five miners and left a lasting impression upon the mining community. Not only did May 20th, 2006 directly affect the families of those five miners killed, it ultimately affected complete strangers, fellow miners not only in Kentucky, but across the country.
They say that the laws are written in coal miner's blood saying it takes tragedy to push for change and the Darby tragedy that killed five, the Sago disaster that killed 12 in West Virginia just several months earlier, both made lawmakers and industry officials realize something had to be done. That's why in the past year with the help of several of the Darby widows and others, new legislation was passed, federal safety bills such as the Miner Act, which required emergency response plans and more rescue teams and state legislation such as House Bill 207, which doubled the amount of inspections and required more methane detectors.
"You don't have to die to make a living for your family and these people mean so much more than they're credited for. Miners are human beings," said Darby widow Melissa Lee.
Just making the mines safer so that other families don't have to go through the same pain, the same loss that these Darby families still feel.
Sunday, we'll have much more with these families and on the lives and legacies of those five miners that died nearly one year ago in the Kentucky Darby Mine.
In the wake of the Sago disaster, the Federal Mine Safety & Health Administration has issued new standards that strengthen the rules for sealing abandoned mining sections.
According to the Courier Journal, MSHA will require seals in abandoned mines to be able to endure more pressure from an explosion and that welding will not be allowed within 150 feet of the seals.
The new rules also require mines to remove insulated cables from sealed areas, among other things.