06.19.08

ENZI: MINER ACT A SUCCESS, BUT WE CAN NEVER BE COMPLACENT

Washington, DC – Two years after Congress passed the “Mine Improvement andNew Emergency Response Act” (MINER Act) ,U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY),Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee(HELP Committee), said the law has significantly improved mine safety and includesprovisions that will continue to make mining safer in the future. “The MINER Act has made our nation’s mines much safer over the past twoyears, but we can never be complacent when it comes to mine safety,” Enzi said. “TheMINER Act ensures that as new technologies and better products become available,underground coal mines must keep pace and utilize them.” Enzi said that the MINER Act established a system that actually reevaluatesitself. Twice a year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) now reviewseach underground coal mine’s Emergency Response Plan to ensure that the mine is usingthe most effective rescue and accident communication technology. “Scientists, government experts, mine operators and miners are working togetherto ensure that state of the art technology and safety plans are in place. Because of theMINER Act, we now have new breathable air devices available for 200,000 of ournation’s miners. MSHA is training 45 new rescue teams. We have required that mineseals like the one that failed at Sago be twice as strong. Mine operators have laid newcommunication lines, and MSHA is working with innovators all across the country toevaluate, approve, and implement new wireless communication and tracking systems.” In response to the accidents in West Virginia and Kentucky in 2006, the HELPCommittee, under Senator Enzi’s chairmanship, worked across party lines to enact thefirst mining reforms in 28 years. Most of the MINER Act’s reforms were still going intoeffect when the tragic accident at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah occurred lastsummer, but the law is now almost fully implemented. “Without a doubt, our nation’s mines are much safer than they were two yearsago,” Enzi said. “Now that the regulations, training requirements, and equipmentupgrades are in place, we need to continue to look at the safety conditions miners faceevery day when they go to work. We must do all we can to prevent any more tragicaccidents from occurring.” ####

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