This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

W.Va. Delegation Fights Mine Commission Cuts

By VICKI SMITH

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) â¿¿ Three members of West Virginia's congressional delegation are urging the U.S. solicitor of labor to reconsider plans to dramatically slash the number of people handling a backlog of contested mine safety violations, saying it's too soon to declare "mission accomplished."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller on Monday released a copy of letter signed by fellow Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, both fellow West Virginia Democrats, and by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

It urges Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris to reconsider proposed cuts to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission that would reduce the number of people handling a backlog of cases from 74 to 44 full-time equivalent employees and subject remaining employees to furloughs.

The reductions are part of the agency's proposal for dealing with the automatic federal budget cuts that have started to take effect and include closing offices in Atlanta and Arlington, Va., and downsizing an operation in Denver.

Such cuts are "unacceptable" and "plainly disproportionate" to other work done by the solicitor's office, the letter says.

The Office of the Solicitor didn't immediately comment Monday.

The lawmakers note that Congress gave the agency more than $22 million in fiscal year 2010, specifically to tackle a backlog of cases that had mine operators had created over the years.

That backlog had "weakened the deterrent effect of mine safety citations and their penalties, and also undermined efforts to penalize mines that have repeat safety violations," the letter said.

The Labor Department hired 89 temporary employees, mostly lawyers, and opened new offices in five cities, to tackle the tens of thousands of cases, even as new ones continue to flood in.

Tying cases up has sometimes hindered the ability of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to act quickly at problem mines such as Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch in southern West Virginia. In April 2010, 29 men died in an explosion there despite a long history of violations.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,880.36 -31.75 -0.19%
S&P 500 1,970.07 +0.12 0.01%
NASDAQ 4,462.9020 +20.2040 0.45%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs