ENVIRONMENT

9 Worst Coal Mine Catastrophes (PHOTOS)

As we were tragically reminded last week with the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that claimed 29 lives in West Virginia, coal mining is a dangerous and dirty business for both people and the planet. As we continue our reliance on coal for energy, we think it's important to highlight the human cost of this energy choice.

1907 was the worst year in the United States, when 3,242 lives were lost as a result of coal mining. While we've certainly come a long way in the last century, many people are still losing their lives each year, with 33 fatalities occurring in 2007.

Take a look at 9 of the worst coal mining related disasters to have impacted the world.