Unmarked graves, an ‘ugly history’: West Virginia weighs mine safety

Ed Evans, Democratic West Virginia delegate and retired public school teacher, sits beside a sunken grave in the unmarked cemetery where more than 80 coal miners killed in the 1912 Jed Coal and Coke Company disaster are buried in Havaco, W.Va., on June 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

Havaco, WV (AP) – The unmarked graves in a forgotten West Virginia burial ground known locally as Little Egypt contain the remains of dozens of coal mine workers who died in a 1912 explosion.

For Paul Evans, a Democratic state lawmaker and retired school teacher, they are a reminder of the dangers of undoing mine safety regulations, currently under debate in the state Legislature.

Evans says he worries about what will happen now that many advocates of the mine safety laws, himself included, were defeated in the Nov. 8 election.

With Republicans gaining an even tighter grip on the Legislature, lawmakers are expected to make another run at further deregulating the agencies that monitor mine safety.

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