CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is opposing the confirmation of a former coal company CEO to become the nation’s top mine safety official.
Manchin says he doesn’t believe David Zatezalo, President Donald Trump’s nominee, is suited to oversee the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, which implements and enforces mine safety laws and standards.
Zatezalo, of Wheeling, West Virginia, retired in 2014 as chairman of Rhino Resources after serving in several top posts. He joined the Lexington, Kentucky-based company in 2007.
He repeatedly clashed with federal regulators when the Obama administration tried to boost industry-wide enforcement after 29 miners died in the April 2010 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.
So far this year 12 coal miners have died, six in West Virginia.