MSHA GRANTS EXTENSION FOR CIVIL PENALTIES COMMENTS AT NSSGA REQUEST

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has delayed the deadline for comments on a new rule after NSSGA argued that the complex, wide-ranging proposal would require additional analysis. Public comments on the agency’s civil penalties rule are now due Dec. 3, two months later than the original Sept. 29 deadline.  MSHA officials say that the rule simplifies the civil penalty assessment process by reducing the range of inspector choices in evaluating mine conditions, including the choices for reviewing such matters as likelihood of an injury, and gravity of operator negligence.
Additionally, MSHA seeks comment on the possible merits of: 1) lessening the authority of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to reduce MSHA proposed penalty amounts; and 2) the agency inducing operator waving of contest rights in exchange for increased good faith benefit in penalty costs.  NSSGA is concerned because the proposal could lead to an arbitrary increase in penalty amounts.  NSSGA made the request in conjunction with the Industrial Minerals Association, National Lime Association, National Mining Association and the Portland Cement Association.
MSHA is expected to hold public hearings on the proposal, as NSSGA has requested. These hearings will afford stone, sand and gravel operators further opportunity to present their views on this important proposal.  Direct questions to Joseph Casper at (703) 526-1074/jcasper@nssga.org.