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Kline, Walberg Statements on Internal Review of MSHA Actions at Upper Big Branch Mine

U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) issued the following statements today on the internal review of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) actions surrounding the 2010 Upper Big Branch tragedy: 

“The internal review released today documents a disturbing failure of enforcement by MSHA,” said Chairman Kline. “A mine operator recklessly endangered the lives of its workers and federal enforcement officials failed to hold the operator accountable. According to the report, on numerous occasions safety inspectors identified hazards but did not demand corrective action, and failed to notice violations of the law. While the responsibility for this tragedy lies with Massey, any effort to enhance mine safety will not succeed if enforcement officials do not effectively do their jobs.”

“Many have seen the horrifying images that depict the deadly conditions forced upon miners at Upper Big Branch,” said Rep. Walberg. “Not only do these images illustrate a total disregard for worker safety, they also highlight a lack of proper enforcement. The internal review demonstrates the urgent need for an enforcement system that uses every tool to aggressively defend mine workers’ safety. I intend to take a careful look at the details of this report and keep a close eye on MSHA as it makes the necessary changes to strengthen enforcement.”

“Today’s report is critical to our understanding of the worst mining disaster in more than 40 years,” continued Chairman Kline. “The numerous investigations and reviews will help inform efforts in Washington and across the country to enhance mine safety. I have invited Secretary Main to testify on the findings of these investigations and look forward to holding a hearing in the coming weeks.”

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