NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said
Wednesday that the Bush administration is committed to improving
safety for miners under legislation passed last year after a string
of fatal mining accidents.
Chao did not discuss any specific safety issues related to the
recent Utah mine collapse, where rescuers were drilling a seventh
hole deep into a mountain to learn the fate of six miners trapped
since Aug. 6.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the miners in
Crandall Canyon," she told the International Mine Rescue
Conference in Nashville. "We also remember the families of the
mine rescuers, three of whom lost their lives, and six others who
were injured in the rescue effort."
Chao did not take any questions and left quickly after the
speech. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration,
Richard Stickler, was scheduled to speak, but Chao said he was in
Chao said many safety improvements, such as requiring additional
stores of oxygen and better tracking equipment, have already been
ordered under the mine safety bill signed by the president last
June after explosions at West Virginia's Sago and Kentucky's Darby
mines left 17 miners dead.
"The (Labor) Department will continue to implement the MINER
Act on time and according to the schedule that Congress has set,"