Training center for miners should stay open

Miners from throughout Ohio and elsewhere in the region rely on a training center at Cadiz for “life-saving training that enhances mine safety, reinforces accident prevention programs and, in turn, helps to strengthen Ohio’s mining industry,” according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Yet the ODNR is considering closing the Jerry L. Stewart Mine Safety Training Center. That makes no sense, as Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, has pointed out.

Gentile said recently he has written to Gov. John Kasich, asking him to direct the ODNR to reconsider closing the center. Gentile said he believes closing the facility “would be a mistake.”

It would. In addition to providing training that may save miners’ lives, the center is home base for a rescue station serving eight East Ohio mines.

Employment in Ohio mines, like those in some other states, has suffered because of government regulations. Still, hundreds of Buckeye State men and women work in the mines – and benefit from training such as that offered at the Cadiz center.

There has been no indication ODNR officials are thinking of relocating the facility. According to Gentile, they have cited “potential code violations” at the Cadiz center as a reason for closing it.

That makes no sense. If there are concerns about the facility, they should be addressed. Kasich should take Gentile’s suggestion and order the ODNR to keep the center open, even if that requires spending a few dollars on repairs and upgrades.