Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

March 18, 2013

W.Va. delegation fights mine commission cuts

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Members of West Virginia's congressional delegation want the U.S. Solicitor of Labor to reconsider a dramatic reduction in the number of people handling a backlog of contested mine safety violations.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall said Monday that Rep. George Miller of California has joined them in opposing the planned cuts.

A letter they've sent to Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris urges him to reconsider the plan to shutter the Atlanta and Arlington, Va., offices of the Federal Mine Safety Health and Review Commission, and the downsizing of the Denver office.

It says the case backlog has been cut since a $22 million infusion from Congress in fiscal year 2010, but it's too soon to declare "mission accomplished."

The solicitor's office didn't immediately respond Monday.

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