Enzi: Senate Mine Safety Hearing Likely in Early March

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced he is working with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., the ranking member on the committee, to schedule an oversight hearing in early March to discuss mine safety procedures and enforcement measures in the wake of the Sago Mine tragedy.

In a Jan. 5 letter to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Enzi requested "regular and comprehensive briefings on the progress and preliminary findings" of the MSHA investigation.

He also told Chao the HELP Committee will want to review information on the extent of MSHA's inspection and enforcement efforts at the Sago mine, including its inspection, citations and abatement history, the nature of any withdrawal orders issued at Sago and a further analysis of Sago's compliance, injury and safety records, including industry-wide comparisons.

Enzi has praised the Bush administration's "prompt decision" to launch an investigation into the Sago Mine explosion and said Jan. 10 that Chao and MSHA Acting Administrator David Dye "have put together a highly qualified investigative team of mine safety professionals and experts from around the country."

"The experience and training of the individuals that make up this team is unparalleled and a step in the right direction to determine the causes of this tragedy so that we can do our best to ensure that it is never repeated," Enzi said.

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