Congress Pushes Policy Changes for Mine Safety
Congressional lawmakers are pushing for policy changes that include more funding to improve safety at all mines. Virginia is home to thirty three hundred mine workers. Sara Sciammacco reports from Washington.
Federal mine and safety officials have asked for more enforcement powers, and for ways to make it easier for mine workers to report safety concerns. U.S. Department of Labor’s Patricia Smith says new legislation alone won’t solve all the problems.
SMITH: Mine operators must do a better job of eliminating unsafe conditions in the first place. If MSHA inspectors can find violations then mine operators should be able to find them also.
At a congressional hearing, the head of the Richmond-based Massey Energy Company was on the hot seat for the recent disaster in West Virginia. Don Blankenship defended his record as CEO, saying the company does not place profit over safety.
BLANKENSHIP: The idea that Massey or Massey’s management or the great majority of Massey, yah know there is always someone out there that don’t care about safety, is untrue.
Senate lawmakers have added additional money to a supplemental spending bill to address the backlog of appeals. Authorities say mining companies have used the appeal process to avoid fines and fixing safety issues.
From Capitol News Connection Sara Sciammacco W-C-V-E News, Washington.