10.23.06

KENNEDY, COLLEAGUES URGE SECRETARY CHAO TO STRENGTHEN MINE SAFETY PENALTY REGULATIONS

Washington, D.C. -- In a bipartisan letter today to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Patty Murray, Robert Byrd, and Jay Rockefeller criticized the current draft regulations on mine safety proposed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration as too weak to protect the nation’s miners, and urged MSHA to strengthen these rules. The issue acquired new urgency after the explosion today at a coal mine in Eastern Pennsylvania. Kennedy said: “The tragic explosion in a Schuylkill County coal mine today underscores the need for strong penalties when companies break our safety laws. These proposed regulations do not do enough to crack down on repeat offenders, nor do they target many mines with the most dangerous working conditions. Our safety laws must provide a real deterrent to safety violators. This is what Congress intended when it passed the MINER Act last June, and America’s miners and their families deserve no less.”

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