Dems probe mine safety record at Trump nominee's company

Dems probe mine safety record at Trump nominee's company
© Getty Images

Two Senate Democrats are seeking more information on the mine safety violations by a company owned by President Trump’s nominee to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

David Zatezalo was an executive at coal-mining company Rhino Resources from 2007 to 2014, a time when the company had frequent clashes with MSHA.

During that time, the company received two rare “pattern of violations” letters from the regulator, a miner was killed in a company mine, the MSHA fined and cited the company, it sought a court injunction after employees allegedly gave colleagues advance notice of inspections, and more, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

ADVERTISEMENT

Zatezalo has since retired from Rhino and Trump nominated him earlier this month to lead the agency, alarming Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (D-R.I.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyPoll: Democrats hold big leads in Pennsylvania Senate, governor races The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again MORE Jr. (D-Pa.).

They sent a letter late Monday to MSHA, a part of the Labor Department, seeking more information about Rhino’s record under Zatezalo.

“Mr. Zatezalo’s tenure as a mining executive is checkered with violations of the same health and safety standards he’ll be expected to enforce. We need a full account of those violations to ensure he answers the serious questions surrounding his nomination,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

“As it stands now, Mr. Zatezalo’s record is questionable at best,” said Casey. “We have to hold him to the highest degree of scrutiny so that we can protect the health and safety of our miners.”