On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.
The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV.