Let us stop for a moment to reflect on where we are and how we arrived. Congress explains its reasons for enacting the Mine Act with an important introductory section titled “Findings and Purpose.” That section states in part:
Sec. 2. Congress declares—
(a) the first priority and concern of all in the . . .mining industry must be the health and safety of its most precious resource—the miner . . . .
(g) it is the purpose of this Act (1) to establish interim mandatory health and safety standards and to direct the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and the Secretary of Labor to develop and promulgate improved mandatory health or safety standards to protect the health and safety of the Nation’s coal or other miners; (2) to require that each operator of a coal or other mine and every mine in such mine comply with such standards; (3) to cooperate with and provide assistance to, the States in the development and enforcement of effective State coal and other mine health and safety programs; and (4) to improve and expand, in cooperation with the States and the . . . mining industry, research and development and training programs aimed at preventing coal or other mine accidents and occupationally caused diseases in the industry.
Reprinted with permission from Coal Age Magazine.