“The recess appointment of Richard Stickler to head the office of Mine Safety at the Department of Labor is a cruel slap in the face to the miners and their families who have experienced so much loss of life this year.

When I questioned Mr. Stickler at a Senate hearing in January, it was clear that he did not have the background, experience or commitment to safety that we need in this critical position. Mr. Stickler was so out of touch with the threats miners face that he told me our current laws were adequate. In follow up questions, he could not suggest even a single improvement.

Thankfully, Congress recognized the need for stronger health and safety protections and passed the most sweeping mine safety law in a generation just a few months later. Now the President is putting this coal industry executive in charge of carrying out the same law he thought was unnecessary. Mr. Stickler’s recess appointment is a dangerous step backwards for mine safety.

I have talked to the widows of our fallen coal miners, and I strongly believe we can and must do a much better job of making sure their loved ones come home at night safe and sound. When I went to the White House on June 15th for the signing of the MINER Act, a family member of a Sago miner told me to fight the appointment of Mr. Stickler, and I have. But the President has made it clear that he’s on the side of the coal industry and not on the side of America’s workers and their families.”

June 12, 2006 - Murray Objects to ‘Business As Usual’ Mine Safety Nominee