Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER)
The 2006 Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER) was implemented following the Sago disaster, which left twelve West Virginia miners dead. The bill forces mining companies to draft and regularly update (every six months) a rescue plan for each site under their ownership. To aid miners in the event of an emergency, operators are required to install both a tracking device above ground and two-way wireless communications. MINER also strengthens monetary fines for the worst offenders with a cap of $220,000 for civil penalties and $250,000 to $500,000 for criminal penalties and gives MSHA the power of injunction over mines that refuse to pay the penalty. MINER also requires management to report an emergency to MSHA within 15 minutes of the accident, under penalty of civil fines.
But the bill suffered from a central failure: it was reactive, not proscriptive. A stronger law would act to address the issues that cause mining disasters, not just made it easier to deal with them once they have already occurred. (Strict limits on coal dust, a ban on flammable conveyor belts, heftier fines for all safety violations.) In 2007, the Democrat-controlled House tried to reinforce the original law by strengthening all fines relating to safety regulations, and expanding the agency’s power to shut down chronic offenders. That bill died because of a veto threat and insufficient support in the Senate.
Cry Wolf Quotes
We firmly believe behavior modification and training are the keys to ensure miners know and want to do their work in a safe manner.
I’m scared that this provision will add a pretty significant cost. You’re going to see a lot of small guys just close up shop.