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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Why the Coal Miners Didn't Have to Die

High-profile U.S. mining disasters have made headlines recently, but a similar incident this weekend in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan involving 70 miners ended very differently. According to news reports, all the Canadian miners survived primarily because the mines were equipped with refuge stations, which can be used as sealed shelters in case of fire or explosion. These stations contain food, water, and most importantly, 24 to 36 hours' worth of oxygen. Canada is one of many nations that mandate the use of mining safety measures like refuge stations. Inexplicably, the U.S. does not. Professors Derek Apel and Larry Grayson of University of Missouri-Rolla point out these international discrepancies in an editorial piece for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
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