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Tennant Calls On Congress To Pass Stalled Mine Safety Legislation

Reported: Apr. 5, 2014 10:47 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 6, 2014 12:27 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Heath Harrison) – As the state marked the fourth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mining disaster this week, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant called on Congress to pass stalled mine safety legislation.

The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act was introduced following the April 5, 2010 disaster in which 29 miners were killed in a coal dust explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va. The bill was blocked in the House in a 214 to 193 vote. Democrats Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan, who had lost his bid for re-election that year, voted for the bill. Republican Shelley Moore Capito voted against it, and proposed alternate mine safety legislation.

The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act has been re-introduced multiple times by U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, and in the House by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., but has failed to pass.

Tennant called for Congress to take action to pass the legislation.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that four years after this terrible tragedy, the Mine Safety Protection Act is still stuck in Washington gridlock,” Tennant said in a news release this week. “We have a responsibility to honor the memory of those 29 miners.”

Tennant is running to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rockefeller. She is expected to face Capito in the general election.



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