Washington, D.C. – Representative Mark Meadows (NC-11) hosted a field hearing at the Historic Mitchell County Courthouse in Bakersville, N.C., June 21 entitled “Building a Better Partnership: Exploring the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) Regulation of Southern Appalachian Mining.” This field hearing was conducted through the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Operations.
Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (FL-07), Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01) attended with Rep. Meadows. Witnesses included Marvin Lichtenfels, Deputy Administrator for Metal/Non-Metal, MSHA; Sam Bratton, President, North Carolina Aggregates Association; Jeff Stoll, Safety and Health Manager, The Quartz Corporation; and Mack McNeely, Vice President, LBM Industries and Nantahala Talc and Limestone.
“This was truly a historic day for Western North Carolina, having Members of Congress from four states gather in the 11th District to discuss such a crucial issue for our area,” Meadows said. “MSHA has an important role to play in keeping miners safe, but it can unnecessarily harm an entire industry when it uses its authority in an unbalanced manner. Building a better partnership between operators and MSHA will strengthen safety and protect the vital industry that has long been a part of our economy.
“This hearing focused on ensuring people are treated fairly and not subjected to arbitrary regulations. Mr. Lichtenfels, the witness from MSHA, admitted under oath that there were a number of situations highlighted in today’s hearing that concern him. The North Carolina mine operators who testified about the impact MSHA has on their businesses told story after story on why limited government is the best kind of government. Regulations on the mining industry have been pushing jobs to China, and we are committed to making sure this kind of government overreach does not hurt more American families.”
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05) praised the hearing. “Congressman Mark Meadows is wise to call this timely hearing examining the impact of federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations on employee safety and individual North Carolina mines,” Foxx said in a statement. “A strong relationship between the mining industry and the federal MSHA, grounded in sensible standards and effective regulations, is necessary to ensure mine safety is maintained and industry growth unimpeded.”