Heidi Hockett-Lowe: Gratitude for paper's follow-up

— Craig Daily Press:

As a follow-up to the cartoon illustration "Big Coal" on Monday Aug. 20, 2007, Rio Tinto Energy America would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your very responsible follow-up message and to highlight several focal points of mine safety.

The mining industry in general is very safe. In fact, since 1970, coal production has increased 83 percent while fatal injuries have decreased by 92 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, coal mining is not among the higher risk occupations in America. Pilots, taxi drivers, loggers and roofers face greater on the job risks than coal miners.

RTEA's policy is to conduct our operation in a way that safeguards all employees and the public from harm. In all aspects, RTEA strives to build upon our reputation as a responsible business, community member, and employer of choice.

The RTEA policies are reflected in our safety performance. In 2005 Colowyo Mine earned the prestigious Safety Excellence Award by working 600,000 hours without a lost time or restricted duty injury from the Colorado Mining Association/Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology. Colowyo also was recognized in 2004 by the Colorado Mining Association and the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology with the Safety Award for Surface Mines.

RTEA is committed to safe practices while meeting the nations growing energy needs and building long lasting relationships with our host communities.

As a mining member of the communities in northwest Colorado, thank you again for your follow-up message.

Sincerely,

Heidi Hockett-Lowe

Rio Tinto Energy America

Manager, Public Relations/

Community Affairs

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