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UMWA supports Rockefeller mine safety letter to Obama

August 6, 2013
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[TRIANGLE, VA.] In the wake of a strongly-worded letter sent by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) to President Barack Obama regarding the lack of progress on important mine safety and health regulations, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) expressed its support for the Senator’s viewpoints.

“I agree wholeheartedly with the letter that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) today sent to President Obama about the lack of progress by his administration on critical health and safety initiatives for American coal miners,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. 

“As Sen. Rockefeller points out, the terrible scourge of black lung is once again on the rise,” Roberts said. “We know what causes it, and we know how to prevent it. The delay in implementing limits to miners’s exposure to respirable coal dust puts more and more miners at risk every day.”

The UMWA has been consistently and frequently in contact with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) about the delay in the dust rule over the past several months. “We have discussed what we believe is the right language to protect miners’ health with the agency,” said UMWA International Secretary Treasurer Dan Kane. “We look forward to a rule that reflects those parameters coming soon from MSHA.”

Promised rules to require the installation of proximity detection devices on mining equipment also remain in limbo. “Far too many miners are killed each year when they are crushed by equipment underground,” Roberts said. “The technology exists to make those deaths preventable, and we join Sen. Rockefeller in urging the administration to get moving, and take action to save miners’ lives.”

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