Friday, March 17, 2006

Stickler Nomination To Head MSHA Held Up By Senator Byrd

West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd has put a hold on the nomination of Richard Stickler to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
Byrd said Tuesday that he wants to meet with Richard Stickler before he allows the Marion County native’s confirmation to move forward.

“I have yet to meet with Mr. Stickler, and I will continue to hold his nomination until I can meet with him to discuss the urgency of coal safety improvements — modern communications equipment, better enforcement of safety laws already on the books, and minimum safety fines to encourage compliance with safety practices,” Byrd said in a statement.

“MSHA’s political leadership seems to have lost sight in recent years that miners’ safety and health is that agency’s top priority,” Byrd added. “Until I know that Mr. Stickler will make safety job number one at MSHA, I will not allow his nomination to move forward.”
Stickler was Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Deep Mine Safety after spending 30 years working for coal companies. His nomination is opposed by the United Mineworkers union, the AFL-CIO and the Charleston Gazette.