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President Roberts' statement on passage of S-MINER Act by House Education and Labor Committee

October 31, 2007

OCTOBER 31, 2007

CONTACT: Phil Smith

UMWA praises House committee for approval of S-MINER Act

United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The approval of the Supplemental Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2007 (S-MINER Act) by the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor represents a huge step in the right direction for the health and safety of American coal miners.

“The American public has seen for itself–far too often over the last two years–just how bad safety conditions in some coal mines in this country can be, and just how callously some coal operators disregard the mine safety laws that are already in place.

“The American people have overwhelmingly joined with UMWA members in demanding action to stop the carnage in the coalfields. By passing the S-MINER Act today, this committee of Congress has shown that it is listening to the people and is doing their will, not the will of those who say enough has already been done and Congress must slow down the charge to save miners’ lives. Clearly, enough hasn’t been done. Miners are still dying.

“This legislation gives the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) the tools it needs to be a true, tough watchdog for mine health and safety, improving on the MINER Act that was passed last year. The real test for MSHA will come when this legislation becomes law. We will see then if the agency will actually enforce it.

“On behalf of every coal miner in America, I want to thank those members of Congress on the committee who voted in favor of this legislation today. I especially want to thank Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) for his tremendous and steadfast leadership on this issue, as well as Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) for her work on this legislation in the committee. I also want to thank Rep. Nick Rahall (D- W. Va.) for being an original co-sponsor of this legislation and all those other members of Congress who are co-sponsors.

“I strongly urge the full House to take up this bill as soon as possible and get it passed. This legislation has also been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and I urge that body to act on it as well. Miners are still dying in the coalfields. We must do all we can to stop the carnage right now.”

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