MSHA

Manchin Opposes Trump’s Mine Safety Nominee

Sep 27, 2017
Courtesy office of Sen. Manchin

West Virginia Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will not support the Trump administration’s nominee to lead the federal agency in charge of mine safety. 

Manchin said in a statement that he will not support David Zatezalo to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. Zatezalo, a Wheeling, West Virginia, resident and former coal company executive, was named as Trump’s pick for the post in early September. 

Manchin said that after reviewing Zatezalo’s qualifications and safety record during his time in the coal industry, he is “not convinced that Mr. Zatezalo is suited to oversee the federal agency that implements and enforces mine safety laws and standards.”

MSHA

Lawmakers and union leaders are raising concerns about the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s practices amid an increase in coal fatalities.  

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin asked MSHA for more information after receiving what he calls “alarming” reports about how the agency is implementing its new Compliance Assistance Program.

In a September 7th letter, Manchin wrote that he’s heard of miners being denied the ability to assign a representative to accompany MSHA inspectors and that those inspectors have been instructed to leave their credentials behind before inspecting a mine.


Three former officials at an eastern Kentucky mine where a coal miner was killed in 2011 have been fined in federal court and ordered to spend time on probation for violating federal mine safety standards.

U.S. District Judge Gregory van Tatenhove scheduled a hearing to determine whether to impose a fine for Manalapan Mining Co.

The men were supervisors at Manalapan's P-1 Mine in Harlan County during a June 2011 underground collapse that killed miner David Partin.

An audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows it's implemented more than half the 100 internal changes recommended after a 2010 explosion killed 29 West Virginia coal miners.

The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General says MSHA's efforts to address its own shortcomings began well before an internal review report was released in March of 2012.

flickr/Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Labor has approved new rules it says will improve safety at the nation's most dangerous coal mines by revising the way operators are designated pattern violators.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said they improve the Mine Safety and Health Administration's ability to hold mine operators accountable for disregarding life saving safety measures. MSHA chief Joe Main says they're long overdue and could prevent 1,800 injuries over ten years.

The changes were proposed after the Upper Big Branch mine exploded in April 2010, killing 29 men.