CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Richard Stickler is out and John
Pallasch is in as the country's top mine safety regulator, at least
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced
Thursday that Pallasch had been named acting assistant labor
secretary for mine safety and health. The former deputy assistant
labor secretary handling policy matters for MSHA assumed his new
role on Tuesday.
MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere declined to discuss how long
Pallasch might run the agency or whether President Bush planned to
seek congressional approval to appoint Pallasch on a more permanent
Stickler took over the $340 million agency in late 2006 as a
result of a recess appointment Bush made while Congress was out of
He inherited an understaffed agency that was facing new mandates
following the coal industry's most deadly year in more than a
Across the country, 47 coal miners died on the job in 2006,
including 24 miners in West Virginia alone. A dozen of them died
when an explosion tore apart the Sago mine.
Stickler's appointment expired on Monday, and the
Democratic-controlled Senate had refused to approve his
While with MSHA, Pallasch also served as a special assistant in
its administration unit and worked for the labor department's
Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)