MSHA budget request would boost enforcement

Washington – Under its fiscal year 2013 budget request (.pdf file), the Mine Safety and Health Administration would prioritize enforcement and inspections, as well as reduce the backlog of contested citations before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

MSHA is requesting $371.9 million, down slightly from $372.5 million in FY 2012. Combined, coal and metal/non-metal mines would receive roughly $4.7 million more for enforcement personnel and equipment. Additionally, $16.9 million would go toward reducing the backlog of contested citations and orders.

Although overall staffing would fall to 2,336 from 2,365, agency administrator Joseph A. Main said during a Feb. 13 webchat that the number of coal mine inspectors would not decrease. However, approval of coal mine ventilation and roof plans would take longer.

To free up money for other areas, MSHA proposed cutting grant funding by $5 million, which would impact training. Main said operators should help fill the gap by focusing more on training. MSHA also will provide more high-quality training materials online, he said.

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