OSHA, MSHA Confirmation Hearings Slated for Jan. 31

The Senate committee that oversees occupational safety and health will meet Jan. 31 to consider the president's nominations to head OSHA and MSHA, according to Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Both agencies have been without an assistant secretary for more than a year.

President Bush has nominated Edwin Foulke, a South Carolina attorney, to head OSHA, and Richard Stickler, the former director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety, to head MSHA.

Enzi, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said he is expediting the MSHA confirmation process in particular because of the Jan. 2 Sago Mine explosion that killed 12 West Virginia miners. MSHA and West Virginia officials are investigating the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

"In light of the urgent need to thoroughly examine the cause of this tragedy and to ensure that similar accidents are never repeated, I will expedite the confirmation process for the president's nominee, Richard Stickler, which is pending before the HELP Committee," Enzi said in a Jan. 5 statement. "The challenge of protecting workers in the mining industry while running an investigation into the Sago tragedy requires a full-time administrator at the helm of MSHA."

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