Mine Official Urges Passage Of Safety Bill
MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:
Here in the U.S., Congress is considering tougher mine safety laws after 29 men were killed this spring in a massive explosion in West Virginia.
NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on the prospects.
FRANK LANGFITT: Joe Main, the government's head of Mine Safety, told a House hearing yesterday that proposed legislation would make it easier for the government to shut down dangerous mines and better protect whistleblowers.
JOE MAIN: Many miners won't speak up about safety problems for fear of losing their jobs. We are resolved to changing that culture of fear.
LANGFITT: George Miller, a California Democrat who oversees the House Education and Labor Committee, summed up the view of many.
GEORGE MILLER: The fact of the matter is the current law isn't working.
LANGFITT: But Congressman John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, cautioned against making new laws before several investigations determine what caused the explosion last April at a Massey Energy mine.
JOHN KLINE: Instead of rushing to legislate without all the facts, I hope we listen to the experts - along with the eventual findings of the investigations I just mentioned - to enact a bill with a clear focus on making mines safer.
Democrats hope to pass a new mine safety bill by the end of the year.
Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Washington.
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