You are hereCharleston Gazette: Sen. Byrd: Massey ’scoffed and laughed at’ repeated MSHA citations at Upper Big Branch Mine prior to April 5 disaster that killed 29 miners

Charleston Gazette: Sen. Byrd: Massey ’scoffed and laughed at’ repeated MSHA citations at Upper Big Branch Mine prior to April 5 disaster that killed 29 miners


May 13, 2010- Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., has secured an additional $22 million to help clear up the huge backlog of appealed enforcement cases pending at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

In a statement announcing the move, Sen. Byrd had this to say:

Last month, a horrific explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine took the lives of 29 West Virginia coal miners. We are learning that this was a disaster that should never have happened. That mine had been cited for hundreds of safety violations – citations that were appealed and ignored, and I dare say, were scoffed and laughed at by the guilty parties.

We must reduce the backlog of contested safety violations. Simply put, penalties must be paid, violations must be corrected, and the violators must be punished.

Last year, alone, the Upper Big Branch Mine contested 67 percent of the penalties assessed for violations cited by MSHA inspectors. That’s similar to the national appeal rate of 66 percent cited by MSHA chief Joe Main during testimony earlier this year to Congress (see video above). Corporate-wide, though, Massey’s appeals rate was about 74 percent of its total penalties. And all of those numbers are far, far above the 29 percent of penalties that were appealed by the mining industry only five years ago.

FULL STORY HERE:

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