Sunday, December 26, 2010


Labor Committee Chairman Vows To Focus On Miner Safety

In 2006, three tragedies killed 19 men in Kentucky and West Virginia mines, causing Congress to enact sweeping changes to the nation’s mine safety laws. Voting “yes” was Representative John Kline, R-Minn., who in January will become chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, which has jurisdiction over coal-mine safety. In early December, the lame-duck House was unable to pass follow-up mine safety legislation. Kline was among those who voted against it. Kline said the latest bill which sought to close loopholes in the enforcement process, provide additional subpoena power to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, protect whistleblowers and impose tougher penalties for certain safety violations was flawed and premature, given that the causes of April’s Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in West Virginia were not known. Kline says we have a responsibility to ensure federal law is both tough and straightforward and that it is followed by mine operators and enforced by federal authorities. He says he will focus on miner safety.

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