Joe Main, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, can brag about having only 19 mining deaths in the United States last year, but he neglects to mention that in only the first three months of 2013 there were eight mining deaths in America. When sequestration cut just under half of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s legal team, Main was not so enthusiastic about mine safety, saying “this was the same position (the agency) was in during the months leading up to the Upper Big Branch tragedy” in a letter to MSHA stakeholders.
If Massey and other mining companies have taken the proper measures to protect their employees, why is the same cast of mining company officials dressed up as employees of Alpha Resources and Ramaco? On Monday night in Nottingham Township, former Massey representatives silently sat while 80 residents reluctantly watched 42 acres be rezoned from an agricultural area to an industrial area to make way for a new deep mine, which will have constant truck traffic and dust.
Main knows that budget cuts to MSHA will have an impact, just as Nottingham residents know that the same company trying to turn an agricultural area into a mining site was responsible for one of the biggest mining tragedies in recent memory.
Zerbo is the federal advocacy coordinator for the Clean Air Council.
Cuts will have an impact