Several members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced bills today to strengthen mine safety and health protections.  A  statement issued by Congressman George Miller (D-CA) says the bill builds upon the legislation passed in June 2006 called the MINER Act. 

The House bills are HR 2768 and HR 2769  with co-sponsors of these House bills are: Bishop, Timothy (D-NY), Chandler, Ben (D-KY); Hare, Phil (D-IL); Holt, Rush (D-NJ); Kucinich, Dennis (D-OH); Mollohan, Alan B. (D-WV); Murtha, John (D-PA); Payne, Donald M. (D-NJ); Rahall, Nick J., II (D-WV); Sarbanes, John P. (D-MD); Woolsey, Lynn (D-CA); and Yarmuth, John (D-KY).

 The Senate bill is S. 1655 (but the text is not yet available from the Government Printing Office.)  It was introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), with Senator Robert Bryd (D-WV) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) listed as co-sponsors.

Jim Carroll of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that families of deceased coal miners are hailing the legislation, while others say that the impact of last year’s reforms under the MINER Act of 2006 need to be assessed.  A statement issued by the United Mine Workers of America says the bills are:

“much more than just another step in the right direction–it answers most if not all of the safety and health needs of miners.”

Marking the one-year anniversary of the MINER Act of 2006, an op-ed written by MSHA’s Asst. Secretary Richard Stickler was published in the Charleston Gazette, saying

“MSHA is utilizing [its] enforcement tools as never before in this agency’s history.”

MSHA also issued a news release and factsheet outlining its implementation of the MINER Act.

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