MSHA chief to face senators' questions in wake of Utah accident
September 04, 2007 7:12 PM
U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd wants to know what it will take to shake up the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Byrd says MSHA was intended to be a strong federal agency with the authority to investigate, penalize and -- when necessary -- shut down a coal mine for safety violations. But Byrd says MSHA continues to take a "tepid minimalist" approach to mine safety, even after last year's Sago Mine disaster.
A Senate Appropriations subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow about the deadly collapse of a coal mine in Utah.
Byrd and other senators want to know whether more regulations are necessary and if the safety improvements mandated after Sago are being put in place fast enough.
MSHA director Richard Stickler is scheduled to testify at the hearing. President Clinton's mine safety director, Davitt McAteer, also is expected to testify. McAteer is now vice president of Wheeling Jesuit University.