CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House Judiciary Committee began work Monday on the contentious Coal Jobs Safety Act as one delegate attempted to get those testifying before the committee put under sworn oath.

“I think these are special circumstances,” Del. Tim Manchin (D-Marion) contended. “I think that we’re talking about rolling back mine safety standards. I think before we do we need to make sure that the information that we are provided is truthful information.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer) said such a move would likely reduce the amount of information the committee would be able to gather on the issue.

“I think that’s a substantial change. I think we need to take into account that oftentimes we ask people to appear on short notice when they have little time to prepare and now to require those folks to testify under oath, I think it’s going to have a real chilling effect on the amount of testimony we gain during these hearings,” Shott said.

The committee voted down the motion 13-10.

The bill, which has already cleared the Senate, would change a number of rules and regulations in the coal industry. Supporters have said some of those measures are expensive and make it difficult with West Virginia coal to compete with other states. In some cases the state regulations exceed federal regulations. Opponents have criticized the bill claiming it will give even more power to coal operators like Don Blankenship and will put miners in dangerous situations.

The judiciary committee discussed the bill for several hours Monday but did not take a vote.

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  • Bob

    You'll notice that the only coal electrical plants switching to gas are the ones that are forced to do so for emissions reasons. The coal-fired plant you have is cheaper than the gas-fired plant you could have, except when someone in government tries to force coal out.

  • Sick & Tired

    I'm tickled to death with my vote. Can't wait for next election to take over the governor. This is from a former dem.

  • Sick & Tired

    Gas didn't stand at the microphone in California and say you can build a coal power plant but we will bankrupt you. Those was Obama's words and he went straight to the EPA to start his regulations. What I don't understand is why you libs won't admit to that. Give him credit he said it and he has done it

  • John

    Do you wish you could have your vote back ? Do the Republican's look out for the coal operator's or the miner's ? Did you register your vote on mostly one issue without educating your self on the fact's ? did you vote only register your vote against Obama ? If you did you deserve to get the results you are seeing in Charsleston !

  • Mark

    I don't think people realize the total cost of mountain top removal .

  • Hop'sHip

    Obama makes a better villain. He looks the part.

  • Mark

    What does your feelings against Obama have to do with weakening safety standards

  • BTU

    Wake up, Natural Gas says coal is out of business not Obama. It's Republican propaganda.

  • A WV Coal Miner

    Regardless you will have state and federal regulations to follow. The coal industry is the most regulated in the country.

  • william

    Obama also say CLEAN AIR,

  • Tom m.

    Damn republicans just like don Blankenship.

  • Parole Officer

    Wake Up!
    Obama says & means COAL IS DONE.
    He will put you out of business