West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin asked his state's miners to report for work Friday, but to use the day to re-evaluate safety procedures rather than to produce coal.
"This is not a day off," he told reporters in a conference call from the capital city of Charleston. "We're asking for a day to honor every miner that has fallen, the 29 miners that we did lose."
Manchin made his plea nine days after an explosion in the Upper Big Branch Mine in Naoma killed 29 miners in the worst such accident in the United States since 1972, when 91 miners died in a fire at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg, Idaho.
The governor said he was asking mine operators to join the miners in reviewing safety procedures "and for everyone to commit themselves to the safety of the workplace."
"Safety is the first and foremost thing," he said.
Manchin vowed to find the cause of the April 5 blast, but said he wanted to ensure safety procedures are followed while the investigation is being carried out. "We are taking this day to review all of our practices of safety and we're basically making sure that all of our practices are adequate and safe."