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Cyprus Emerald Resources Corp. v. Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Comm'n

Citation: 30 ELR 20172
No. Nos. 98-1442, -1548, 195 F.3d 42/(D.C. Cir., 11/05/1999)

The court holds that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (FMSHA) did not authorize the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission's (FMSHRC's) issuance of a significant and substantial finding to a mine for failure to comply with the nonmandatory requirement of investigating refuse pile collapses. The court first holds that the FMSHA plainly and unequivocally conditions a significant and substantial finding on an initial finding that there has been a violation of a mandatory health or safety standard. The court then holds that the FMSHRC's power under FMSHA § 104(d)(1) to issue citations under FMSHA § 104(a), which treats violations of mandatory and nonmandatory standards identically, does not render the FMSHA § 104(d)(1) standard for significant and substantial violations ambiguous. Moreover, the inability of the FMSHRC to issue significant and substantial findings for nonmandatory violation does not thwart the FMSHRC's ability to enforce regulations to ensure mine safety because the FMSHA provides adequate means to enforce such regulations.

Counsel for Petitioner
R. Henry Moore
Buchanan & Ingersoll
One Oxford Center
301 Grant St., 20th Fl., Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 562-8800

Counsel for Respondents
Colleen A. Geraghty
Office of the Solicitor
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW, Rm. N-2700, Washington DC 20210
(202) 219-6666

Before Ginsburg and Randolph, JJ.