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ALJ Uphold Penalties for ‘Travelway’ Violations

By Ellen Smith

Penalties of $1,526 were affirmed against Oil-Dri Corp. by Federal Mine Safety and ALJ Priscilla M. Rae for two citations at its Simpson Clay Mine in Georgia, where the ALJ had to determine whether certain areas were “travelways.”

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Taking a Step Forward

By James Sharpe

MSHA found that pre-assessment conferencing of citations and orders (C/Os) could reduce the civil case backlog by 17 percent. Unfortunately, too little data was available from a pilot program to put much stock in that number. Nevertheless, a collateral benefit of more open communications could be a positive impact in its own right. Because conferencing is limited in Coal but universal in Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM), that sector stands to gain the most.

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Drill Baby Drill

By Randy Logsdon

It was about 10:30 in the morning on Jan. 12th and I was driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 62/180 between El Paso, Texas, and Carlsbad, N.M. The weather was mild and visibility was good. A section of that highway (about 100 miles) can be characterized as a remote rolling two-lane highway.

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District Court Says It Lacks Jurisdiction to Alter or Amend Withdrawal Orders

By Ellen Smith

A U.S. District Court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to alter or amend an MSHA withdrawal order issued to an underground sand mine in Clayton County, Iowa. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Eastern Division said in a brief decision that Pattison Sand Co. did not cite any authority to support its contention that a District Court has jurisdiction.

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Better Days for Mine Safety Lie Ahead

By James Sharpe

The year 2011 departs as a disappointment because it did not end, as hoped, with the fewest fatalities ever in the U.S. mining industry. Last year got off to a promising start. One fatality is too many; still, by June 30 just 13 miners had been killed, a mark that would have set a record had it not been exceeded the rest of the year.

Read more: Better Days for Mine Safety Lie Ahead