Four years ago, in the wake of a string of underground coal mining accidents, West Virginia and the federal government took a hard look at safety in the mines.
New federal regulations were passed to address a range of problems that surfaced from the Sago Mine disaster that left 12 miners dead.
More safety equipment is required underground, airtight emergency chambers have been created, better communication devices are being developed and expert teams must respond more quickly in the case on an emergency.
Many of those improved safety measures for trapped miners have been deployed, although some have hit snags along the way. But the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine raises a whole new set of issues about preventative measures. ...
The Mine Safety and Health Administration already has appointed a special team of investigators to study the explosion, congressional hearings are planned, and Gov. Joe Manchin also vows to hold hearings as he did with the Sago accident.
''We've got to find out some way we can prevent this,'' the governor said at a news conference recently.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the miners who died, but in their memory industry leaders, officials and the public need to prepare for another hard look at mine safety.
This was too high a price to pay.
The Herald Dispatch, Huntington, W.Va.