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MSHA News Release: [08/30/2007]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot          David James
Phone:    (202) 693-9406   (202) 693-4676
Release Number 07-1343-NAT

MSHA Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao announces independent review of MSHA's actions at Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced today that an independent team of mine safety experts will review the actions of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) relative to the Crandall Canyon Mine accident. The review will include actions taken before the August 6 accident and the ensuing rescue operations.

"After discussions with Administrator for Mine Safety and Health Richard Stickler, I am taking the unprecedented step of appointing independent outside experts to evaluate MSHA's actions regarding the tragedy at the Crandall Canyon Mine on August 6 and the subsequent rescue efforts," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The Crandall Canyon miners, the rescuers who were injured and perished in trying to save others, and the loved ones who have suffered so much in this tragedy continue to be foremost in our thoughts."

The following two individuals will lead the independent review: The independent review will consist of a thorough examination of written mine plans, inspection records, and other documents relevant to the Crandall Canyon Mine and interviews of MSHA employees with personal knowledge of MSHA's inspection responsibilities and enforcement procedures at the mine. This review will provide a comparison of MSHA's actions at the Crandall Canyon Mine with the requirements of the federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, the "Mine Act," (as amended by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006), its standards and regulations, and MSHA policies and procedures. The findings of the independent review will result in the development of recommendations to improve MSHA's enforcement program and the agency's oversight of rescue and recovery programs in the aftermath of mine accidents. Copies of this review will be made available to the families of the miners involved in the Crandall Canyon mine accident, Congress and the public.

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