March 9, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

CBS News correspodent Bob Simon traveled to eastern Kentucky to investigate the hazards faced by underground coal miners.  His conversation with women who lost their husbands in the May 2006 Darby Mine disaster will air on this Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 PM (EST).

Melissa Lee, whose husband Jimmy died at the Darby Mine explains why she’s taking on the mining industry and working for safety reforms. 

“Too many people here in Harlan County have husbands underground.  And if me speaking out keeps their sons safe, their grandsons safe, their son-in-laws safe, then I’ve done something good.  My husband’s death wasn’t in vain.”  

Mrs. Lee, who is now raising four children, describes the threats she’s received by people who want her to keep quiet and stop criticizing coal companies. 

“I was receiving phone calls, out-of-area calls, making ugly comments that I need to shut up, that I talk too much.”

The 60 Minutes feature will also present conversations with other widows of the Darby Mine disaster and Assistant Secretary for MSHA Richard Stickler. 

CBS’s Bob Simon is no stranger to mine safety issues.  He interviewed former MSHA official Jack Spadaro in 2004 following Spadaro’s dismissal from the agency and controversy erupting over an investigation of the 300 million gallon waste spill from Massey Energy’s Martin County coal waste impoundment. 

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