Mine safety nomination follows history as coal executive

October 20, 2017 - 11:10 am

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The retired coal company executive from West Virginia chosen by President Trump to oversee U.S. mining safety says his first priority is preventing people from getting hurt and that he replaced the managers of a mine plagued by safety violations in 2010 and 2011 where a miner died.

David Zatezalo, who retired in 2014 from Rhino Resources, faces opposition from his home state's Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who says the 62-year-old is unsuited based on his industry safety record.

Zatezalo told the Senate committee that advanced his nomination this week, on a 12-11 party-line vote, that the U.S. industry is safer than ever, technology can further improve it and the required four annual mine inspections shouldn't be reduced.

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