Thursday, April 15, 2010
Pittsburgh based Consol Energy says it will honor West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s request to not produce coal in any West Virginia Mines Friday. The request was made as a way to honor the 29 miners who lost their lives last week in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine. The governor has asked that instead of mining the workers report for their shift as normal and then spend the day working on safety issues. Consol spokesperson Joe Cerenzia says their workers will spend the day in training. He says the workers get regular training on safety issues and the company has an “absolute zero” program aimed at preventing accidents, “So the classes will serve as refreshers” for Consol Employees. Consol operates 7 mines in West Virginia. Cerenzia says it is unclear right now what the one-day stoppage will mean to the company’s bottom line. He says that is not the issue, “At Consol Safety trumps every thing. It trumps production, it trumps profits.” Cerenzia says the drop in production should not hurt the company’s ability to service its customers. He says they have enough coal in stockpiles to make sure power plants that count on just-in-time deliveries do not see an interruption in supply. Governor Manchin has also called on state inspectors to enter every WV mine immediately to look closely at safety related issues. Massey Energy says it will also honor the Governor's request.