WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee is expected to formally markup a bill Wednesday that would repeal a federal requirement for reporting mine safety.
The bill, House Resolution 4289, would rescind a regulation regarding how mining companies publicly report the number of safety violations and citations in financial disclosure forms to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The measure is part of the Dodd-Frank banking law, which was passed in light of the 2008 financial crisis. Then-Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., pushed for the section in light of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 people.
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., introduced the bill on Nov. 7. He said in a statement the current provision gives unnecessary authority to “Wall Street regulators.”
“The Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration already regulates coal mining. Due to Obama era Dodd-Frank regulations, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is tasked with regulating Wall Street and Financial Institutions is duplicating the work of the Department of Labor,” he said.
“Adding this duplicative disclosure requirement is unneeded and represents another hurdle Washington puts in the way of opening new mines and rebuilding the coal industry.”
Two Democrats looking to challenge Mooney in the next election cycle — Talley Sergent and Aaron Scheinberg — criticized Mooney for the bill.
“Congressman Alex Mooney – you can’t offer condolences to our lost miners one day and then take away mine safety disclosures the next,” Sergent said on Facebook. “That’s just down right hypocritical.”
Scheinberg, who served in the Iraq War, said the bill would put miners’ lives at risk while taking care of Wall Street.
“The first lesson we learn in the military is that you take care of your people, and I’m tired of seeing our elected officials fail to do the same,” he said in a release.
Mooney, along with Reps. David McKinley and Evan Jenkins, voted for an amendment in September that would have cut MSHA positions and funding. The measure was rejected 238-178.