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Good Enough For Government

In Good Enough For Government, Matt on December 17, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Mineral Dust

Joseph A. Main from wvgazette.com

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released a press release announcing an “increased focus” on regulating mining operations to ensure appropriate safety precautions against airborne contaminants, across the industry. Assistant Labor Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, Joseph A. Main, held a conference at MSHA headquarters in Arlington, VA, to explain what this means to the press. It’s not entirely clear whether or not anyone was actually there, since it seems like no-one reported has it other than whoever writes the press releases for MSHA.

Basically, the MSHA has decided to enforce the laws listed as sections 56.5002 and 57.5002 in Title 30 of the Federal Code of Regulations, which both state the same thing “Dust, gas, mist, and fume surveys shall be conducted as frequently
as necessary to determine the adequacy of control measures” (language which couldn’t be more noncommittal if it were written in the voice of some college kid stopped on the University mall and sucked into promising to sponsor a child in Bangalore) and has composed a letter to be sent businesses that might be affected by the change, to notify them and explain what they will be responsible for.

Also today, the Labor Department will be arguing for the authority to invoke injunctive relief on Freedom Mine No. 1, a mine in Pike County, KY owned by Massey Energy, at a federal court hearing in Covington, KY. According to NPR, this “injunctive relief option” is a 33 year old facet of federal mine safety law that has never been attempted for use until now. If the judge rules in favor of DOL, then it will go to trial on January 4th. in Pikeville, KY.

There are beads of news articles having to do with DOL and safety regulations strung around the internet lately, all seeming charged by the April 5th explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The MSHA is also supposedly planning to crack down on shuttle car safety in mines too. They say 16 miners have been killed and 800 injured by shuttle car accidents between January 2000 and September 2010. Mostly what we’re hearing on the news is preservation around the Republican and Democrats congressional infighting over the Bush tax cuts, Zadroga, the DREAM Act, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the Omnibus Bill slipped in there at one point, and for good reason. But apparently legislation called The Robert Byrd Mine Safety Act (H.R. 6495), meant to update mine safety law , was on the floor of the House last Wednesday, the 8th…But it was blocked by Republicans.

-Matt

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