The National Association of Manufactures today sent a “Key Vote” letter to the U.S. House urging a no vote on H.R. 6495, Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act, which is scheduled to be considered under suspension on the House floor Wednesday.

Laudable goals to improve mine safety are undercut by the legislature’s overreach and extraneous provisions concerning labor-management relations. As the letter states:

Unfortunately, H.R. 6495 focuses primarily on expanding MSHA’s authority, imposing criminal penalties on employers, and exposing companies to more litigation. Specifically, the NAM is concerned with provisions in H.R. 6495 that:

  • Bypass normal regulatory procedures by mandating that MSHA issue new
    standards/regulations without giving advanced notice or sufficient opportunity for
    employers to provide feedback;
  • Impose vague new standards for criminal liability, potentially criminalizing most
    infractions and subjecting officials to sanctions over which they have no direct control;
  • Inject government control over business decisions by expanding MSHA authority over
    miner training, employee/professional certifications, and recordkeeping at mines;
  • Create new language prohibiting “at-will” employment for certain underground coal
    miners; and
  • Broaden the number of conditions that inspectors can consider for more serious
    citations and orders while limiting the operator’s ability to challenge citations.

These provisions would dramatically increase the cost of coal production, driving up energy prices for consumers and for American manufacturers, who use roughly one-third of our nation’s energy supply.

NAM Key Votes are determined by an advisory panel made up of representatives from NAM-member companies of all sizes and used to determine a member of Congress’ voting support for manufacturing issues.

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