MORGANTOWN, W. Va. ? Breaking news from Sago, WV in the early hours of January 2, 2006 gripped the nation and prompted a call for new regulations and innovative solutions to prevent further mining disasters and specifically address the need to decrease the time in deploying appropriate rescue assistance. Since that time, some progress has occurred but, as evidenced by the Utah mine tragedy on August 8, 2007, the wheels of progress are not turning fast enough and as often happens with headline grabbing disasters, public attention wanes and the momentum to affect change by addressing critical issues stalls.
On November 2, 2007 at 1:30 p.m., the West Virginia Law Review and renowned experts from across the nation will do their part to continue the important search for answers and work to raise awareness as they present Part II of ?Thinking Outside of the Box: A Post-Sago Look at Coal Mine Safety.? The symposium will be held in the Marlyn E. Lugar Court Room at the West Virginia University College of Law where a diverse group of stakeholders in mining and mine safety will explore where we have come in the 20 months since Sago occurred.
?The West Virginia Law Review has ?assembled a first-class group of representatives from government, labor, industry and academia to discuss the extent to which workplace health and safety regulations are keeping our miners out of harm’s way.? explains Professor Anne Marie Lofaso, one of two College of Law professors advising the Law Review in its planning for the symposium, ?We expect a candid discussion of the regulatory framework’s triumphs and failures to better understand how to prevent future disasters.”
Editor-in-Chief of Volume 110 of the West Virginia Law Review, Mary Claire Johnson, gives credit to three years of hard work: ?This project is an ambitious one that involves the contributions of three editorial boards of the West Virginia Law Review.? She hopes that through Part II of the Lecture Series, ?the college of law and speakers will raise awareness and sustain the current debate surrounding mining safety in West Virginia and across the country.”
College of Law Associate Dean Joyce McConnell adds “Protecting the lives, health and safety of the workers who provide a steady supply of coal for energy, is a critical international issue deserving of the attention of the best. Recognizing this, the WVU College of Law through this Symposium brings together renowned experts to provide an opportunity in which they can build on one another’s expertise and work together to dig for unexplored solutions.”
Participants in the discussion will include: Edward P. Clair, an Associate Solicitor for Mine Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Labor; Dr. Jeffery L. Kohler, the Associate Director for Mining at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC NIOSH); WVU Associate Professor Lofaso; WVU Professor of Law Patrick C. McGinley; Alison D. Morantz, Associate Professor of Law and John A. Wilson Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School; Lynn Rhinehart, Associate General Counsel for the AFL-CIO; C. Greggory Ruffennach, an attorney who advises mine operators on compliance issues arising under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act; and David C. Vladeck, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center.
John W. Fisher II, Dean of West Virginia University College of Law, states that the faculty and staff of the College of Law are ?extremely pleased that the law review is presenting the second portion of Post-Sago Mine Safety Symposium. This session will involve experts from all sides of the issue, discussing their ideas as to how coal can be mined in an economically competitive way, and at the same time ensure the safety of the miners involved. The symposium will be of great interest to not only those involved in the coal industry but also to those interested in the economy of the state.?