House Dems reintroduce mine safety legislation

Washington – Legislation reintroduced March 21 by House Democrats aims to reform the nation’s mine safety and health laws.

The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1373) – named for the West Virginia senator and mine safety advocate who died in 2010 – would increase civil penalties for violations, improve whistleblower protections, create an independent panel to investigate mine incidents involving three or more deaths, and allow the Mine Safety and Health Administration to more easily close an unsafe mine.

The legislation is a response to the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 miners. A similar version of the bill was introduced in 2011 but failed to advance in the Republican-controlled House.

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