April 23, 2015

Manchin and Casey Introduce Comprehensive Mine Safety Bill

Legislation Would Hold Operators Accountable for Repeated Safety Violations 

Safety Officials Can Fine Mines for Violations But Some Don’t Pay- Currently $73 Million in Unpaid Fines

Flooded System Has Caused Safety Claims Backlog Making Miners Wait for Justice 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2015, which would help fix a broken system in which safety violators can avoid accountability. This comprehensive mine safety legislation would increase penalties for repeat offenders, reform a system that allows millions in safety fines to go unpaid and end a backlog of safety claims that delays justice for miners.    

“A strong mining industry begins with a strong commitment to our miners,” Senator Manchin said. “For many West Virginia families, mining is a way of life and has been an important part of our state’s culture and livelihood for decades. That is why it is critical to continue to improve safety standards so that our miners’ lives are never in jeopardy. I am proud to reintroduce this important legislation that ensures we keep our promises to America’s brave miners by helping to close backlogs in benefits claims, hold safety violators accountable for negligence, and reform a broken liability system.”

“We have an obligation to ensure the safety of those who work in our nation’s mines. There are too many safety violations and too often those violations go without accountability,” Senator Casey said. “This is commonsense legislation that will prioritize the safety of coal miners and ensure that there are series consequences for those that disregard basic safety.”

To read a full summary and fact sheet of the legislation, please click here.