Call to stop bad mine safety laws
Last week the Kentucky Senate passed two bills that essentially would shut down the state’s inspections of coal mines by eliminating required inspections (Senate Bill 297) and reducing safety training for mine foremen (Senate Bill 224).
Conditions for coal miners are dangerous already. There is no excuse for weakening safety programs and putting miners’ lives in greater danger to save a little money. As Teri Blanton was prepared testify when a Senate committee first heard these bills (she was not called to speak), “Those six inspections were written with the blood of several coal miners who died in 2009 in Harlan County. To eliminate those inspections is quite frightening.”
After SB 224 and SB 297 passed the Senate, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said they would get an unfriendly reception in the House. But on Tuesday House leaders took SB 224 from the Natural Resources Committee where it is assigned and gave the bill its first reading on the House floor.
Without going into details on how the process works (three reading are required), this procedural tactic usually isn’t done unless a bill is being fast-tracked for passage.
Let’s stop this bill and send a clear message to House leaders that putting the lives of coal miners, or any workers, in greater jeopardy for the convenience or profit of their employers is unacceptable.
Call the Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181 and ask to leave a message for Rep. Greg Stumbo and House leaders. The message line is open until 11 p.m. tonight and opens again at 7 a.m.
Message: Putting coal miners’ lives in increased danger by crippling state mine safety programs is unacceptable. Put a stop now to SB 224 and SB 297.
About the bills
Senate Bill 224 would eliminate the requirement that mine foremen receive six hours of training annually from the state Division of Mine Safety and allow them to receive training through a weaker federal statute. It passed the Senate 26-10.
Senate Bill 297 would eliminate required state inspections of underground coal mines, transferring some enforcement powers from inspectors to “analysts” who are not required to ever visit a coal mine. It passed the Senate 25-11.