This afternoon the House recognized that Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010 was the wrong approach to enhance the safety of mines by failing to pass the legislation. The legislation was introduced late on Friday December 3 and was rushed to the House floor under suspension of the rules which meant that bill would’ve needed a 2/3 vote to approve the measure. The final vote was 214-193 with 27 Democrats opposing the bill.
Although the NAM sent a Key Vote letter to all Representatives urging opposition to the bill, manufacturers wholeheartedly support the legislation’s goal of maintaining safe and healthy workplaces for our nation’s miners.
We continue to urge policy makers to adopt collaborative approaches to address our shared goals of making our workplaces safer, but this legislation was the wrong approach to workplace safety. Should the bill have become law it would have dramatically increased 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. Additionally the legislation contained provisions that would have bypassed normal regulatory procedures by mandating that MSHA issue news standards and regulations without giving advanced notice or sufficient opportunity for employers to provide feedback. Additionally the bill would have imposed vague new standards for criminal liability, potentially criminalizing most infractions and subjecting officials to sanctions over which they have no direct control.