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Mine Operator Scores Victories in Contesting Citations

Often Fighting Back is Worth the Time and Effort.

By Adele Abrams

These days, it may seem like almost an insurmountable obstacle to get citations vacated by Administrative Law Judges, especially if the mine operator is handling the case itself against a government attorney. However, a recent ruling by Administrative Law Judge Manning shows that there is sometimes light at the end of the tunnel.

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MSHA Releases Pattern of Violations Proposed Rule

Rulemaking Raises More Questions Than It Answers.

By Adele Abrams

On Feb. 2, 2011, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) issued its anticipated proposal to drastically revise its Pattern of Violations (POV) criteria, aimed at allowing the agency to crack down more quickly on mine operators it deems to be “chronic violators” of mandatory standards who have “demonstrated a disregard for the safety and health of miners.”

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MSHA Expands Use of Injunctive Relief

Will Injunctions Become More Commonplace As Enforcement Tools?

By Adele Abrams

Despite press reports in non-mining media to the contrary, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) has always been a strong agency, with many enforcement weapons in its arsenal. In addition to mandating inspections at least twice a year (surface) and quarterly (underground), the 1977 Mine Act also provided MSHA with warrantless search authority, no statute of limitations on violations, personal prosecutorial power under Section 110, and a strict liability framework for adjudication. None of these powers, by comparison, are possessed by MSHA’s sister agency, OSHA.

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Whistleblower Cases Explain Process

There Are Limits On Relief For Complaining Miners.
The chances of “whistleblower protection” reform being passed by Congress this term have diminished significantly (barring a lame duck session passage of HR 5663 and its Senate counterpart.

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