WASHINGTON, D.C. – West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller issued a statement after the announcement that a longtime Massey Energy mine manager pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate mine safety protections at Massey mines.

“These new revelations show a complete failure by senior management at Massey to put our miners first and absolutely reinforce the pressing need to pass comprehensive mine safety legislation,” Rockefeller said. “Coal mining is an honorable profession; anyone who criminally put profits over people risks lives and tarnishes that honorable work.”

Rockefeller said his bill would specifically hold bad actors fully accountable and increase penalties for these types of flagrant abuses.

“I’m beyond frustrated that this bill, which I introduced almost three years ago, has not yet passed,” he said. “The families of these miners, as well as current and future miners, deserve action. We absolutely cannot wait for another disaster to take place.”

Rockefeller said the announcement of the mine manager pleading guilty is a big milestone in the Upper Big Branch investigation.

“I commend U.S. Attorney Goodwin and his team for working diligently to find those responsible for this tragedy and bring them to justice,” Rockefeller said.

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