Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

Senator RANDOLPH. The Senator from West Virginia was listening. Senator Williams. I guess I was not listening intently enough.

WILLIAMSI Senator RANDOLPH. First of all, I remember that you said that we considered the anthracite and bituminous field all in one, which we should not have done. That is a specific criticism. Is that right? Mrs. GUTSHALL. Very definitely. Senator RANDOLPH. I am not saying it is not a good criticism.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. One of the criticisms that we have of the Federal Law is that it does include anthracite and bituminous as one.

Senator WILLIAMs. Your opening remarks did describe conditions now as worse than they were before the passage. You had a description of what the Federal law has created in terms of confusion.

Is that in your prepared statement?

Mrs. GUTSHALL. I have said in my statement that we feel that it has created confusion.

Senator WILLIAMS. “Enforcement of the law has gone 180° away from the objective."

I heard it right. That is what you said. It is as to enforcement.

I know the difference in the nature of the coal. Bituminous and anthracite, you suggest, should have been separately considered.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. We feel it would be more advantageous to have separate sections.

Senator Williams. On the question of the degree of gas, there is more likelihood of gas in the bituminous than in the anthracite.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. I would prefer that Mr. Manula answer this question.

Mr. MANULA. We have greater hazards in bituminous coal operations from the standpoint of gas emission. In the anthracite we have a somewhat different situation. We do get ignitions from time to time, but these are localized, and they are not propagated, because of the way the mine head is placed. We have rock tunnels which are driven for the development work, as opposed to the bituminous, where it is all coal.

We do have a gas problem in the anthracite, and I am referring to black damp, which is carbon dioxide, which is lack of oxygen. We have this type of gas.

That is why we don't agree that mine sa fety lamps should be barred from being taken underground. Otherwise, we will have to carry canaries.

Senator WILLIAMS. Carry what?
Mr. MANULA. Canaries. These are fail-safe, believe me.

There are differences. From the standpoint of ventilation, there are requirements in the Federal law which pertain both to anthracite and bituminous, requiring 3,000 cubic feet of air at the active working face.

In anthracite we have a man race two by two, which is 4 square feet, and you are approaching a thousand feet per minute air velocity. I would hate to be a man going up and down that race, believe me. It would create a dust problem. Things like this have to be resolved.

Senator RANDOLPH. Mrs. Gutshall, I want to be careful when I say you criticized the law, but you did criticize the law in four particulars.

I must return now to page 5. You said:

The law makes no distinction whatsoever between bituminous and anthracite mining, and this fact is both inconceivable as well as totally illogical.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. Right.

Senator RANDOLPH. Did you mean you don't recognize that as criticism Mrs. GUTSHALL. This is criticism of the law.

Senator WILLIAMS. That is the day that you were called back to West Virginia that that happened. You weren't here that day.

Senator RANDOLPH. It could be. Now I turn to page 6. You said: The law places the sole responsibility for mine health and safety upon the owner, himself, not upon the shoulders of the men who actually work in the mines, who have a definite responsibility. Supervision for the most part has been directed away from face operations, resulting in neglect to areas of greatest exposure.

Is that a criticism of the law?
Mrs. GUTSHALL. This is criticism of the law.

Senator RANDOLPH. Then you say, on the same page: “The new law does not lend itself at all to uniformity of inspections between Federal and State law."

Is that a criticism of the act ?

Mrs. GUTSHALL. This could be criticism of the act. It could also be handled by administrative policy.

Senator RANDOLPH. There are other criticisms. They are valid criticisms. I just want to say that here criticism is not of the Bureau of Mines, entirely.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. We really believe these are things that should not be as they are.

Senator WILLIAMS. You are even handed between criticism of the law and enforcement.

That might explain why this charming woman has served through the administrations of Leader and Lawrence, and Scranton and Schafer, the whole range.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. As I say in my last paragraph, I trust that my comments will be taken as constructive criticism.

Senator RANDOLPH. They will be by me, I assure you of that.

There are 4 million more women of voting age in this country than there are men of voting age. I am not going to forget that.

Seriously, I think you make a contribution, as the chairman has well said, constructive in nature.

Earlier today I inadvertently, and I want to again say that the record was corrected, but I want it to be very clear that I had indicated that perhaps someone had made a complaint or criticism of the administration of the Bureau of Mines, or whatever your actual organization is called in the State government. That was clarified. The word "denied" was used by the Senator from Pennsylvania. I very gladly changed my comment in reference to that matter.

Thank you very much.

Senator WILLIAMS. I just have one question before we turn to Senator Schweiker.

There was testimony this morning about an explosion in a mine in Pennsylvania, and it followed, I think, a day or two after the method of inspection that the Bureau describes as partial but representative.

You were here. You heard the testimony.

Mrs. GUTSHALL. Yes; the Helen mine.
Mr. Manula will be glad to give you a complete rundown on it.

Mr. MANULA. This is the Homer City mine of the Helen Mining Co., North American Coal Corp.

I was underground the morning of the ignition. I made a personal inspection tour with a commission of State bituminous coal mine inspectors. Our district mining inspector in that district had made his required inspection on February 23, or 28. We inspect gas emissions every 3 months.

At that time, it was a new mine. They had just finished driving the slope, and were working away from the bottom. They had completed driving in the shaft. The slope is used to hoist the materials and coal-hoist the coal and supply mines with materials. It is a logistics and materials handling type of arrangement. The shack was used as an exhaust shaft for men and the fan.

When they cut through, our inspector made his inspection at that time, and at that time he made recommendations to management to do certain things within the next few months, as the mining progressed away from this air connection. He posted his inspection notice on the bulletin, as required by law, for everyone to see, including the employees and mine sa fet y committee for that mine.

The mine was then inspected April 7, 8, and 9, I am not sure of those dates, by a Federal coal mine inspector. The day after the Federal coal mine inspection, we had a gas explosion.

Luckily, the ventilating system was not crippled. Our inspector arrived underground, made a quick initial survey and investigation, closed the mining operation. We kept that mining operation closed for 2 weeks.

When they first went underground, there were some discrepancies in the ventilating system. They were using temporary stopping and so on, causing leakage, and no ventilation at the mining face.

However, during the course of our investigation here, we interrogated, we took testimony from the mining crew involved, and they mentioned at this testimony that there were no violations of the Pennsylvania Coal Mining Act.

Therefore, we simulated, after we cleared the mine of excess methane, and it took 2 of 3 days to do this, our commission, composed of three deputy mine inspectors and an electrical inspector, simulated or tried to simulate actually what had happened at that mine, and made a ventilation survey.

These documents, the commission report and the inspection report, could be part of the reference for the investigating committee here, if they wish. These are available to you.

(The information referred to follows:)

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
DEPARTMENT OF MINES AND

MINERAL INDUSTRIES

CUCNOURU

Junc 26, 1970

Fonorabie *. B. Crarnbury
Secretary of Snes
and Energi Indusüries
Barricourg, Pennsylvania

Dear Dr. Charmbury:

As requested at our meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on June 23, 1970, we have defined item No. 2 of the Requirements and accouingridation of our commission Report and submit our definition here:ith.

If this definition meets with your approval, would you please send a copy of this reply to Mr. James Gurley, President, Florence and Helen lining Company, Drawer D, Homer City, Pennsylvania 15748.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »