Backlog of Contested Mine Safety Cases Reduced

November 23, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor says a one-year initiative has helped it eliminate some of the nationwide backlog of contested mine safety violations.

In a report to Congress last week, it said the number of contested cases at the end of July was 17,100 – about 500 fewer than the previous July.

But that’s despite a flood of more than 11,000 new appeals.

Congress approved an emergency $23 million for the project in July 2010. It targeted a backlog of more than 10,400 cases and more than 64,000 individual citations.

The report says two-thirds of those cases are resolved.

Critics of the current regulatory system complain that mine operators have long clogged the system, avoiding or delaying scrutiny by challenging the violations cited by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

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