We at the Murray Energy Corporation ("Murray Energy") must respond to the blatantly false, biased and demonizing article by Fox News reporter Don Fair, that FoxNews.com published on September 19, 2013, entitled "Reporter's Notebook: Memories of the Utah mine disaster." It is unfortunate that FoxNews.com, which generally reports reliable information, would allow Mr. Fair's unfair lies to be published.
In this case, Fox News did not "just report" as you profess, but allowed Mr. Fair to publish his biased and demonizing opinions, which again, are blatantly false. The families of the victims at the tragic Crandall Canyon Mine seismic event, our employees, and your FoxNews.com readers deserve much better than Mr. Fair's unfair and reckless opinions. We herewith will set the record straight and rebut the outright lies published in your article.
The article recycles numerous false statements and misconceptions that have been self-perpetuated by some in the news media over the past six years. On top of this, Fox's Mr. Fair has taken or fabricated current opinions of some local residents, who know nothing of what transpired, and "reported" them as facts.
There was no "explosion" at the Crandall Canyon Mine. The President and Chief Executive of Murray Energy Corporation, Mr. Robert E. Murray, himself, was at the site of this tragic collapse within four hours and remained at the mine for twenty-eight days to direct the rescue effort and to administer to the needs of the families of the effected miners and their rescuers. He was underground every day at the site of the seismic activity, and met with the families of the effected miners about every five hours for almost the entire twenty-eight days to keep them as informed as possible, and to provide for the victim's families. Our direct statements to the national media were only to stop the false opinions and statements of the uninformed persons who choose to opine on this tragic event.
Counter to what Mr. Fair states in your article, for the one year that Murray Energy owned the Crandall Canyon Mine prior to this seismic event, it had one of the best safety records in America. There was only one minor lost time accident during the entire year and minor safety issues were noted in regular Federal inspections. Also, Murray Energy implemented the mining plans provided by the most respected mining engineers and rock mechanics specialists in the world, and these designs and plans were pre-approved by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
There was no "criminal" conduct, as Mr. Fair insinuates. Indeed, the subsequent extensive investigation by the Federal government proved this fact. Yes, Murray Energy previously closed another mine due to sudden safety concerns, but it had nothing to do with Christmas, as Mr. Fair states.
No one knows for certain what caused the tragic collapse at the Crandall Canyon Mine. We were initially informed on the first day that it was an earthquake by the University of Utah, and they even cited the epicenter miles from the mining. Then the cause became a political and causal debate by anyone who had an opinion. A recent press release from the University stated that the seismic event was over a much larger area than initially thought. To some mining experts this means that the small amount of mining by one continuous miner unit in a confined area likely could not have caused the catastrophic seismic collapse in this faulted mountain.
Regarding Mr. Fair's concoction about "former complaints and infractions," there were none. The accommodations for the families that where provided by the Company at the Wellington school that he refers to were the best that could be provided at the time in this very sparsely populated mountain area.
At the Murray Energy Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, the safety of our employees is our top priority. All 3,300 Murray Energy employees know that, when we address our miners' health and safety, there is no other priority until that subject has been exhausted. For Mr. Fair and Fox News to suggest otherwise is false and reckless and does not well serve the affected families, our miners, and your readers. The tragic seismic event at the Crandall Canyon Mine cannot be reversed, but the events can be reportedly accurately. The families of the affected miners and our employees at the Murray Energy deserve much better than what Mr. Fair and Fox News have fabricated.
-- Murray Energy Corporation