February 6, 1982

The President announced today that he will reduce by $2 million a previously announced budget rescission for the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in 1982. This will allow MSHA to lift the hiring freeze and hire coal mine inspectors and support personnel up to a level consistent with pre-freeze employment levels. In addition, the President will send to Congress an amendment increasing the level of funding in fiscal year 1983 for protecting the health and safety of the nation's coal miners.

The proposed funding increase will be used to help combat conditions in the Nation's coalfields, which have suffered a recent series of disastrous mine explosions and multiple fatal accidents, and to reduce sharply, historically and persistently high injury rates in the coal mining industry. The amendment requests an additional $15 million for the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration in their cooperative efforts with coal operators and miners to improve health and safety practices and conditions at the Nation's 5,900 coal mining operations.

In announcing the proposed amendment, the President emphasized to the mining industry and the mineworkers that their mutual responsibilities and roles in health and safety are of paramount importance in reversing the recent upswing in injuries and deaths.