Federal Agency Chief Cites Mine Safety Concerns

CHARLESTON– The departing head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says he’s concerned miners’ protections may be rolled back under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to address some coal industry complaints about regulation.

Joe Main told the Charleston Gazette-Mail in an interview Monday that he’s trying to reach out to industry officials to urge them not to seek broad changes in how the agency operates and rules for mine owners.

Main, former United Mine Workers safety director, says recent data show strong improvements in safety compliance and lower fatality rates.

Trump campaigned promising to limit regulations contributing to coal’s slump, emphasizing environmental rules.

Mining companies and trade associations sued unsuccessfully to block some Main initiatives, including regulations intended to reduce exposure to dust that causes black lung disease.

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