April 6th, 2010
09:58 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The deadliest U.S. mining disaster in 25 years

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

An explosion at the Massey Energy Co. mine in West Virginia took place during a shift change Monday afternoon. The blast left at least 25 miners dead and four are still missing. Earlier today, rescue crews halted their efforts to reach four miners still unaccounted for because of safety risks due to concentrations of methane and carbon monoxide.

Authorities say it could take up to two days to drill bore holes into the coal mine. The holes will be drilled 1,200 feet down to help ventilate the mine and collect samples. The cause of the blast is still unknown but officials pledged a thorough investigation. Gary Tuchman and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are at the scene and will have the latest developments tonight.

Yesterday’s explosion is the latest in a string of problems for Massey Energy, which operates 44 underground and surface mines and controls 2.2 billion tons of coal reserves in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Massey's Web site. The company has been fined for several incidents, some fatal, at its facilities in recent years, including a 2006 fire that killed two miners in Aracoma Coal Company's Alma Mine No. 1. Aracoma is a division of Massey. The company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges in connection with the fire and was fined $2.5 million in 2009. We’ll have more on the company’s troubled history tonight.

We’re reporting on the rebuilding and relief effort in Haiti today. There is not enough space or enough time to get all 200,00 “high risk” homeless people moved before the rains come. The long-anticipated resettlement camps for people left homeless after the quake are only now just starting to take in their first residents. Why is it taking so long and why are efforts falling so short? More than a million people live in tent cities and most still do not know what their options are or where to find help. Anderson reports on their situation and what government and aid organizations are doing to help. We talk to Sean Penn whose aid organization J/P Haitian Relief Organization has been on the ground working to help those in need ever since the January 12 quake struck the nation.

The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and reduce its reliance on them in a sweeping overhaul of its nuclear strategy. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is due out today and will change a long history of U.S. policy to one that isolates countries that are flouting their obligations under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Pact. President Obama is expected to sign a nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both countries’ missile stockpiles later this week. So what will this mean for our nuclear policy in the future?

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Denise Barlow

    Good morning Eliza and CNN.

    I didn't get the opportunity to watch AC 360 last night but my prayers go out to the families. This explosion is a horrific situation.

    Also, a small bit of good news from Haiti, I read that schools are finally starting to re-open so the children can continue their education. Now if they could just get all those homeless people into safe shelters....that would be a good thing.

    April 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  2. Stephen D, Ontario Canada

    Thank you Anderson and the rest of the CNN Team with keeping us all up todate with the latest news from this great tragedy. All the miners and families are in my families prayers. God bless you all.

    April 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  3. Patrick Valance

    God bless those stout of heart. May the miners endure forever. Their aid is the substance of family, friends, and community. Keep faith alive. we need the resources of underground labor. I pray the safety measures will improve so this does not happen again. This is where the Government should help.

    April 6, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  4. adam,colorado

    everyone is worried about the violations right? the thing about a violation is that it is any small thing such as trash accumulations, a door left open, equipment not being wheel choked against motion, all the way up to more serious ones. Most violations are an accumlation of the smaller ones listed but sometimes more serious ones are cited. anyway forget the violations and pray for these families. in this day and age mining is one of the only jobs willing to employee anyone so dont bite the hand that feeds america.

    April 6, 2010 at 10:57 am |