PLEDGE NOW
West Virginia’s Coal Mines

Billy Pettry, Caden Gray, 5, and Brandon Gray, from left, sit on the steps of the Marsh Fork Worship Center in Eunice, W.Va., near the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine. (AP)

They go down in the mines every day for the coal that lights and heats a huge chunk of the country.

This week, at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, too many miners – far too many miners – did not come out.

A blast rocked the mine when shifts were changing. The grief that followed has caught the entire nation.

Today, we talk with miners. Coal miners in West Virginia.

We talk about the work they do every day. About mines and mine shafts – the life, the danger. About the mine that turned lethal this week.

This Hour, On Point: miners on mining, and the disaster at Upper Big Branch.

Guests:

Beth Vorhees, producer, host, and senior correspondent for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

J. Davitt McAteer, former head of the Mine Health and Safety Administration under President Clinton and Vice President for Sponsored Programs at Wheeling-Jesuit University.

Jeffrey Harris, 54-year-old, sixth-generation miner. He works in the Harris No. 1 mine in Farley, West Virginia. He’s worked in a mine for 30 years.

Adam Vance, 27-year-old, third-generation miner. He runs a shuttle car at Pinnacle Mine in Pineville, West Virginia, on the graveyard shift.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 25, 2016
This April 29, 2014, file photo, shows an Exxon sign at a Exxon gas station in Carnegie, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

How will the oil giants do business in the climate change future? Shareholders at Exxon, Chevron and more want to hear their plans. So do we.

May 25, 2016
Police gather in a cordoned off area where a possible murder suspect fired shots at officers surrounding a South Side home where he is barricaded Thursday, May 12, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Predictive policing. With violence on the rise, Chicago has turned to big data to predict gun and gang violence.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 24, 2016
Activist and author Gloria Steinem. (Carly Romeo / Courtesy Gloria Steinem)

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem explores how violence against women drives global instability in her new show, “Woman.” She’s with us.

 
May 24, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Vietnamese Communist party secretary general Nguyen Phu Trong at the Central Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama’s in Vietnam and Japan. The G7, Hiroshima and his pivot to Asia are all on the table. We look at the big picture. Plus, President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment
 
‘Best Of’ 2016 Commencement Speeches
Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpts from a few of the best commencement speeches delivered to the graduating class of 2016.

More »
Comment
 
Caller: Trump is a ‘Yankee moron,’ but I support him
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

“I’m a working man. I’ve worked 13, 14 hours every day. I got two jobs. I got three kids. I got a wife. You know, I’m not a misogynist.”

More »
Comment