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Letter to Secretary Udall on the Need for a Review of Mine Safety Regulations and Practices.

May 01, 1963

[ Released May 1, 1963. Dated April 30, 1963 ]

Dear Secretary Udall:

Within the past five months two major coal mine disasters have occurred, involving a total loss of 59 lives. The alarming thing about these accidents is that they occurred after a period of nearly seven years during which there were no disasters involving such heavy casualties.

Considering the accident-prevention measures available to industry, and the inspection and compliance powers presently available to the state and federal agencies charged with supervising mine safety--I consider such loss of life unacceptable.

Therefore, to prevent the occurrence of further accidents, I direct you immediately, in close cooperation with the appropriate state officials, to conduct an intensive review of present mine safety regulations and practices to insure that inspection and compliance procedures are applied rigorously so as to minimize the chance of further accidents. I also request your views promptly on the need for further or improved legislation which will enable us to prevent such accidents in the future.

I know you share my concern over these disasters and the deep sympathy I feel for the families and friends of those who perished. It is imperative that we take every necessary step to avoid such accidents in the future.



[Honorable Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior, Washington, D.C.]

Note: On August 31 the Department of the Interior announced that Secretary Udall had that day submitted proposed legislation designed to strengthen mine safety. The Department also released the report of a Task Force on Coal Mine Safety, established as a result of the President's letter of April 30.

John F. Kennedy, Letter to Secretary Udall on the Need for a Review of Mine Safety Regulations and Practices. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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