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willfulness or a total lack of comprehension of the important role of

occupational health, have systematically sought to decimate this essen

tial public health program.

Over the years the miners and their Union have seen their fellow

workers suffering the ravages of disability and death which are the

daily penalties paid for allowing conditions to prevail which produce

coal workers' pneumoconiosis.

At last, they have secured the enactment

of Federal legislation essential for wiping out this manmade plague.

They will be highly intolerant of any attempts to delay or subvert en

forcement and compliance.

I strongly urge that the Federal Coal Mine

Health and Safety Act of 1969 be considered a portent of the future and

immediate action be taken to strengthen and expand its impact.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond to Senator Randolph and say I would certainly be pleased to join him, and I know I can speak for all of the members on this side of the aisle, we will sign the telegram because we feel it is of such urgency.

Senator RANDOLPH. Thank you, Senator.

Senator SCHWEIKER. I would like to make one other point in terms of inspection that was discussed here. I have information from the Interior Department as of several weeks ago saying that of the 200 gassy mines and this was the mines that methane is inclined to form, in an explosive prone mine, that they have been spot checked on the basis of every 15 days.

Now, then, on the basis of the Department of the Interior's information which they have supplied, they are only up to one-third of the provisions of my amendment in the present law in terms of their inspection teams, so I think it is pretty indicative of how serious the problem is when their own statistics show that they are only inspecting or operating at one-third of the level of what the explosive inspection amendment intended to do.

I do want to say, however, that it is a difficult job to get inspectors when you don't have a Director of the Bureau of Mines. We all knew there would be a gearing up problem in terms of getting these people, but unfortunately we have had an inordinate slowdown in the process because of the lack of a head of the Bureau so that we knew there would be a problem of gearing up, we anticipated that, but it has been made tragically complex and complicated by the lack of a head of the Bureau of Mines.

Senator WILLIAMS. Under the time limitations that we are working under this morning, we have only time to thank you gentlemen for this appearance. I will say there might be some loose ends and some facts that are not clear and perhaps when we have the record from the cases, I just have a feeling that when the rank and file members have to come at considerable time and expense to the Senate, that they feel, that they, under the law, have not had their representatives fully engaged in an effort to get this law enforced, and it has not been spelled out clearly to me that the union representatives of the rank and file members have done all that we provided for under the law. There might be other questions that we will have to put to you gentlemen and we will now go to the next phase of our morning hearing, and we thank you.

Mr. BOYLE. Thank you.
Senator WILLIAMS. We will take a 5-minute recess.
(A brief recess was taken.)

Senator Williams. Before we call Mr. Nader, I want to announce or say that we have consulted in this recess, and we are not satisfied with all that was stated here about the United Mine Workers role in the Virginia lawsuit, so I am asking Mr. Boyle to return this afternoon and further go into more detail on what was done and what might have been done to expedite the entire business of the enforcement of the coal mine health and safety law.

Senator WILLIAMS. Our next witness is Mr. Ralph Nader who everybody knows has proven himself to be the most effective advocate for the health and safety of our Nation's populace, an outspoken voice in pointing out failure of both industry and Government in these areas,

and we have invited Mr. Nader to testify this morning since his studies have included in great, great detail the problems of health and safety in the coal mines.

Mr. Nader, we appreciate very much your response to our invitation.


Mr. NADER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, members of the Labor Subcommittee, I am grateful for the invitation to express some views on the workings of a law that thousands of miners died for and hundreds of thousands of miners and members of their families look toward for greater safety in the mines.

For decades King Coal, largely absentee owner-corporations, consumed the bodies and health of tens of thousands of miners who went underground to extract the wealth of a rich land with poor people for the dollar coffers of New York, Pittsburgh, and Chicago corporations. All the industrial genius of these corporations went toward perfecting extractive, processing, distribution, and marketing of coal.

Rendered primitive were the working conditions where their employees depleted their bodies in this country's most dangerous occupation. Occupational violence in the mines came in the form of discernible trauma (called accidents) and the creeping destruction of men's lungs through the deadly black lung disease of coal dust.

What is the level of this occupational violence for the 105,000 coal miners working underground? Let it be compared proportionately and hypothetically with Congress. If the coal miners work casualty experience were shared by the 535 Members of Congress, over 40 Members of Congress would suffer an injury on the job each and every year. Thirty-nine of these Congressmen would suffer a temporary total disability.

By the frequencies of death experienced by coal miners in 1968, the U.S. Congress proportionately would lose every 2 years three more members by violent, traumatic death on the jobsite.

That is not all. Taking the other, major hazard in the mines—black lung disease or coal miners' pneumoconiosis-a proportionate affliction in Congress among committee chairmen would occur in over half of these senior legislators and most Congressmen would exhibit symptoms ranging from a racking cough with short breath to massive progressive fibrosis ending in death.

Extending the hypothetical a little further, the Department of Interior would be refusing to enforce the coal health and safety laws on the basis of being reluctant to incur the wrath of the Treasury Department which pays the Congressmen and wants to minimize its costs.

Such hypothetical musings might generate some real empathy for the real situation in the coal mines and why so many coal miners are striking the booming mines. They are weary with the calculated anarchy that is rampant in the coal fields, the mockery of State safety regulation as shown in the recent McAteer report, a report by a group of West Virginia law students that was recently issued, the fraud that is Federal implementation and the continuous indifference of their union leaders. The crash of their hopes that the new law, passed in the indignant crucible of the Farmington disaster, would be different is now evident, and no more so than at the Department of Interior.

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The Coal Mine Health and Safety Act was signed by the President on December 30, 1969, and given to the Department of Interior to administer and enforce. The safety features of the law were supposed to go into effect on March 30, 1970, according to the law, and the health features were to become effective June 30, 1970.

In many ways the law which passed through Congress after extensive hearings broke new ground with its specific deadlines and its meticulous attention to statutory abridgment of the customary wideopen discretion permitted regulators. The strategy of evasion, misfeasance, and malfeasance practiced by the Department of Interior, its Bureau of Mines, and other Federal officials reflects an institutional mutiny against the law they have sworn under oath to uphold.

Once again the question is raised as to whether a department should be permitted to combine a promotional, subsidy role for an industry with a salfety regulatory responsibility.

Against the background of the most determined congressional mandate in coal mining history, the Department of Interior has performed the following illegal or nullifying acts:

1. Issued an illegal penalty schedule that prejudges the amount of penalties in the face of a congressional requirement to take into account case by case factors. This led to a lawsuit by a number of small coal operators which the Department actually encouraged. The result of the suit has been a restraining order against the penalty schedule which the Department promptly interpreted as a stay of its entire enforcement-penalty program. Interior failed to present counsel before the Federal court in Virginia that issued the injunction.

The transcript of that court proceeding shows that the coal operators were advised to bring a law suit by at least one official in the Department of the Interior and that the Justice Department attorney failed to oppose the coal operators' request for an injunction by citing section 513 of the act which prohibited such injunctions prior to a determination on the merits.

Interior's role was brought into greater doubt by the statement of Mr. Gershuny, the Interior lawyer who was on this matter, who informed a House staff member on April 30, 1970, that he "knew the fee schedule was illegal” but that Interior had published it anyway in order to "wash out” the effect of the penalties on the coal operators.

I may add Mr. Gershuny had a ticket and was ready to go to Abingdon, Va., where the suit was hrought, but was then recalled by his superior.

2. Interior has failed to date to revoke or repeal the penalty schedule which would free it to begin deploying the sanctions under the law. During this period of calculated, self-imposed paralysis, 15 miners were killed in May, 22 miners were killed in June and around 13 miners died in July.

3. Interior has not followed the spot inspection mandates of section 103 (i) which reads: Whenever the Secretary finds that a mine liberates excessive quantities of methane or other explosive gases during its operations, or that a methane or other gas ignition or explosion has occurred in such mine which resulted in death or serious injury at any time during the previous 5 years, or that there exists in such mine other especially hazardous conditions, he shall provide a minimum of one spot inspection by his authorized representatives of all or part of such mine during every 5 working days at irregular intervals.


On May 25, 1970, the Bureau of Mines certified that over 220 mines were entitled to an inspection under 103(i). Had the law been observed, and it was mandatory, over 3,750 spot inspections would have been made in the last 17 weeks since the act was in effect. Actually, fewer than 600 spot inspections were made during this period. În most weeks the average number of spot inspections was less than one-third and often less than one-sixth of the number required.

4. The Department testified before congressional committees and received more than an additional $7 million for “inspections, investigations and rescue work” in the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 1969 until July 1, 1970. Moreover, the budget request was almost a 100-percent increase to $16 million.

For the year that began on July 1, Interior asked for an additional 100-percent increase, another $16 million for this activity and promised in the President's own budget to increase its spot inspections from 1,632 in calendar 1969 to 13,000 in calendar 1970. Yet so far in 1970 they have completed less than 1,000 such inspections and concede that they will not finish over 3,000 before the end of this year.

5. Interior has allowed over 13,000 citations for violations to pile up without any penalties being assessed and applied to the violators. There are indications that the Department wants to use the aforementioned injunction to forgive all these citations or assess them at a trivial $1 level per violation.

6. According to the law, Interior was required to publish no later than March 2, 1970 the regulations prescribing methods for coal operators to implement their coal dust measuring requirements of the act. It took a law suit by three Congressmen on March 24, 1970 to prod Interior to publish these regulations on April 12, 1970 (others were published on March 28, 1970).

The burdens of flouting the act are mounting on the Department of the Interior. Miners have been killed in mines which should have been spot inspected but were not. Clearly, the Federal Government is exposing itself to millions of dollars of potential suits under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Spot checking is not discretionary for the designated mines; it is mandatory.

Other institutions which might have been expected to monitor the Department and its Bureau of Mines have failed. The United Mine Workers did not intervene in the legal proceedings in Virginia which led to the critical injunction. The union has not filed actions in Washington to enforce the law. Its primary activity has been verbal.

I understand that Mr. Evans thinks he is overburdened. He certainly is. He is the only full-time professional representing the United Mine Workers in the safety area in Washington, D.C. There should be at least 10 such professionals in all areas of expertise so that they can at least confront the industry on an intellectual and scientific par.

In addition, the coal mine companies have done petitioning under section 301(c) of the new act to have the regulations or standards challenged. There is a steel petition relating to a number of complaints in mines and there is a carbon fuel petition and yet 301 permits a waiver, but only on a case by case basis. These petitions are asking for wholesale type waivers and the UMW has not entered into this administrative proceeding.

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