News Releases

"I am deeply troubled that just months after 12 miners were killed in the Sago disaster, the Senate Leadership is trying to turn the enforcement of our mine safety laws over to a former coal company executive who has no background in miner health and safety.

When Richard Stickler testified at his HELP Committee confirmation hearing in January, he told me that he believes current mine safety laws are "adequate." I could not disagree more, and neither could the House and Senate, which recently passed the most comprehensive set of mine safety improvements in a generation.

I was so disappointed in Mr. Stickler's responses at the hearing that I asked him to answer further questions in writing. In his reply, Mr. Stickler could not suggest a single way to improve mine safety. We need a leader at the Mine Safety and Health Administration who will not accept the status quo that has cost miners their lives.

I am also disappointed that the Leadership is ignoring Senate tradition and seeking to override the valid concerns of Senator Byrd, who represents the Sago families.

With America's miners risking their lives everyday and a new law that must be vigorously enforced, we cannot entrust mine safety to someone who has not shown the background, passion or desire to fight for the health and safety of America's miners. When it comes to mine safety, we cannot tolerate business as usual."