A Matter Of Opinion

When death is avoidable

Made mention of the coal-mining tragedy in Utah last year because I knew one of the guys who died trying to rescue six other miners, none of whom have ever been recovered.

Gary "Gibb" Jensen was the best man at my sister's wedding many years ago. The funeral service was in the small town where I was born and where I spent childhood summers. My sister and brother-in-law live there.

As it turns out, the Crandall Mine collapse was avoidable, according the the feds' report. The mine owners' story that it was caused by an earthquake was baloney. The negligence borders on criminal. The company was mining the floor and pillars that kept the mine intact. Unbelievable.

The result is the largest fine ever leveled against a mining company, although I didn't think the total of $1.6 million struck me as remarkably large or much of a deterrent if what you're mining is worth more than that.

Nine people died.

Photo by Trent Jensen/Salt Lake Tribune

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