West Virginians are well aware of the dangers of coal mining. Much of what miners and their companies do is focused on safety. State and federal governments take the issue seriously.
Still, four men have been killed in coal mine accidents this year in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
But during the same period, four men were killed in natural gas well or pipeline accidents in Tyler and Doddridge counties. Far fewer people work in gas production than in mining, it should be noted.
The two fatalities from a Doddridge County explosion occurred at an Antero Resources well. Though the company is taking steps to make its well sites safer, state Department of Environmental Protection officials are not satisfied. They want more information before allowing the well site to reopen.
That may reflect a growing concern about gas industry safety.
While no occupation is entirely without risk, injuries and deaths in the gas industry should prompt both state and federal officials to take a new, critical look at it.