By Ben Geman - 04/15/11 07:09 PM EDT
It aims to toughen Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) regulation in several ways, including reforms to the “pattern of violations” rules to give the agency more power to require upgrades at mines with repeated safety problems.
The plan would also increase criminal penalties, enhance whistleblower protections and require independent probes of mining accidents that kill more than three people, among other provisions.
Another provision would give MHSA subpoena powers and allow the agency to “seek a court order to close a mine when there is a continuing threat to the health and safety of miners,” according to Miller’s office.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) floated a Senate version of the bill in January.