Federal agencies Legislation Respiratory conditions Coal

As MSHA moves forward on dust rule, industry pushes back

Miner --- Oct2013

Arlington, VA – As the Mine Safety and Health Administration announces its intent to work with the mining industry on implementing the agency’s recent final rule on coal dust, some mining companies and organizations are actively pushing back.

On May 1, MSHA announced a cooperative partnership with coal mine operators and miners to “assure smooth implementation” of the rule. However, on the same day, St. Clairsville, OH-based coal company Murray Energy filed a lawsuit challenging the rule, which it called “deeply flawed and irrational.”

“Instead of protecting miners’ health, this rule clearly seeks to destroy the coal industry, and the thousands of jobs that it provides, with absolutely no benefit to the health or safety of miners, whatsoever,” Murray Energy said in a press release announcing the suit.

Published April 23, the rule would lower the permissible level of miners’ exposure to respirable coal dust and would require more frequent sampling in an effort to end the prevalence of deadly diseases collectively known as black lung.

In a statement following the rule’s publication, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn called MSHA’s rule “one-size-fits-all,” suggested the agency ignored constructive suggestions and solutions from industry, and said the final rule’s requirements cannot be met by existing technologies.