My daughter called the other morning on her way to work to see if I had been watching coverage of the Massey Energy mine explosion. Of course I had. Virtually everyone had been watching and reading the story. What a terrible tragedy. You have probably heard about the tragic blow suffered by one of the miners who lost a son, a nephew and a brother to the explosion.
In the aftermath, it’s easy to point fingers at the company that operated the mine. After all, aren’t they responsible? Expert after expert has said that explosions in mines are preventable. It’s clear that something was likely amiss at the Upper Big Branch mine. CEO Don Blankenship certainly didn’t do much to shift such sentiments in interviews I saw. What’s more the mine’s safety record is far less than sterling.
Regardless, I believe all of us had at least a tiny part in the tragedy.
We’re quick to demand cheap energy in America and slow to push for efficiency or technologically advanced alternatives. In the second decade of the second millennium, shouldn’t we be able to do better for our energy needs than scratching rocks out of the ground and burning them?
I would like to say that I feel the pain of those who were close to the tragedy. Truthfully, that is probably a shallow sentiment. I don’t believe anyone can appreciate how devastating such a horrible event must be to family members.
I can honestly say, however, that I feel bad that we have not moved ahead further and faster to solve energy needs. Yes there is an abundance of coal. Power plants burn it cleaner than ever and will continue to improve. You can get a lot of coal energy for a relatively little amount of money. The true cost, however, seems tragically high.