Dems, MSHA ask for more teeth in federal mine law

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and other House
Democrats say it's time for Congress to pass stalled legislation
that would give the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
more power to prevent mine disasters.

In a Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers
grilled MSHA director Joe Main about the agency's failings before
the 2010 explosion at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine.

Republicans repeatedly cited an internal review that found MSHA
could have done more to prevent the disaster that killed 29 men.

Main says MSHA has changed and is changing. But he says he still
needs three things - protection for whistleblowers, subpoena power
for investigations and stiffer criminal penalties for bad
operators.

Rahall argues Congress shouldn't punish MSHA by withholding
lifesaving legal powers because only miners would suffer.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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