Feds OK Rules They Say Will Improve Mine Safety
By VICKI SMITH
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) â¿¿ New federal rules approved Thursday could help save lives at dangerous mines with a pattern of safety violations and put more responsibility on companies to find and fix hazards, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
The changes were first proposed less than a year after the Upper Big Branch mine exploded in April 2010, killing 29 men. It was the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said her agency has since undertaken "a serious and comprehensive evaluation of mine safety practices."
The Mine Safety and Health Administration said the new rules could help prevent a disaster like Upper Big Branch."This rule is long overdue, and it will, over the long term, serve to make mines safer for those who choose to be miners in this country," MSHA director Joe Main told The Associated Press. Among other things, the rules let MSHA designate a company a pattern violator without a prior warning. They also eliminate the requirement that MSHA can consider only final orders; previously, the agency could not impose the designation until the operators finished appealing violations, which could take months or years. Although MSHA has technically had the power to designate pattern violators since the passage of the federal Mine Safety and Health Act since 1977, Main said it didn't happen until 33 years later. "MSHA should not be prevented from taking action to protect the lives of miners for months, or even years, while we await the final outcome of citations and orders that a mine operator can easily contest," said Main, who took over the agency in October 2009. But the National Mining Association, which had objected to the rule when it was proposed in February 2011, said its concerns remain. It argues that because unsafe conditions must be fixed under current law, "no miner is put in harm's way if a citation is appealed."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV