West Virginia Mine Blast Adds Pressure on Embattled Coal Industry

Already facing a host of new environmental regulations, the coal industry may be in for a new round of safety regulations after an explosion in a West Virginia mine this week killed at least 25 miners. The New York Times today took an in-depth look at the various challenges bearing down on the industry.

At the center of Monday's accident is Massey Energy Co., a massive coal company that made headlines in June 2009 when a long-running judge recusal case went before the Supreme Court. Clean Energy Works, a coalition of climate change lobbyists, attacked Massey this week in a letter that accused the company of putting profit before miner's safety. The group hopes the latest disaster will encourage more legislative action to regulate both environmental and safety issues associated with mining.

The National Mining Association (NMA) countered that the accident would have little impact on environmental policy. "I don't think there are facts on the table that will persuade this Congress or this administration to destroy an industry that's as important to the economy as this one is," NMA Spokesman Nathan Popovich told the Times.

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