Press Room

Mine Safety Commission Announces Members, Plan of Action

Washington, D.C. — The Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission today began its review of how new and existing technologies and training procedures can be better adapted to the unique conditions found in the nation's underground coal mines. Commission Chairman Dr. R. Larry Grayson, Chair of the Department of Mining and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Missouri — Rolla, announced the names of safety and technology experts who have agreed to serve on the commission (see below) and presented his views of how the commission would proceed.

"I'm delighted that so far eight distinguished safety experts have agreed to work with me in identifying new opportunities for improving underground coal mine safety. With the addition of a wireless technology expert soon to be named, they will ensure that our investigation will be thorough and impartial, and that our recommendations will be practical and effective," said Dr. Grayson.

"Our intention is to hold several meetings over the next four months, consult with safety and technology experts both here and abroad to canvas best practices and the most promising uses of technology, and make public our initial recommendations in early July. These findings will then be peer reviewed and available in final form by early October," said Grayson. "We all understand the urgency of our work but appreciate the need for thoughtful and thorough analysis before recommending practices that will directly affect miners' health and safety."

The Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission was formed by the National Mining Association (NMA) in January of this year following the tragic events in West Virginia underground coal mines. NMA hopes the commission will be able to suggest ways technological devices and uses can be tailored to underground coal mining and accelerate the significant progress that has improved mine safety in recent years.

Dr. Grayson agreed to chair the commission, whose members he chose and whose deliberations and findings will be conducted and reported independently of NMA.

The following are commission members as of this date:

Chairman Dr. R. Larry Grayson
Chair, Department of Mining and Nuclear Engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla. A former coal miner and mine superintendent, Dr. Grayson also directs the $4 million NIOSH-funded Western U.S. Mining Safety & Health Training and Translation Center. Chaired the National Research Council committee on Material Flows Accounting of Natural Resources, Products and residuals. Ph.D. in Engineering, West Virginia University.

Mark N. Beauchamp
Mine Rescue Trainer, Twentymile Coal Company. A 25-year veteran of underground mines, Beauchamp has extensive experience as a rescue team member in Colorado and Utah, where he has won numerous state and national awards for mine safety. He has MSHA certification as an underground mine foreman among others.

Anthony Bumbico
Currently the Corporate Safety Director for Arch Coal, Inc., Bumbico directs the health and safety functions for each of Arch's 10 subsidiaries, which operate in six different states and employ over 4,000. Previously he had served as Vice President of Safety for Horizon Natural Resources as well as Director of Human Resources and Safety for AEP Fuel Supply Co. He holds an M.S. in Human Resource Development, Ohio State University.

Dr. Amy K. Donahue
Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of Connecticut. Prof. Donahue currently serves as Technical Advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate and previously was Training Coordinator for the Central New York Community Foundation. She is a much-decorated former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and has received the NASA Public Service Medal for her service during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster recovery effort. Donahue holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration, Syracuse University.

J. Brett Harvey
President and CEO, CONSOL Energy, Inc. Formerly president and CEO of PacificCorp Energy Inc., among the country's largest electric utility companies and, before that, served as president and CEO of Interwest Mining Co. Harvey has held numerous positions of distinction in the mining and power industries, including vice chairman of the World Coal Institute, board member of the Center for Energy & Economic Development and of the Coal Based Generation Stakeholders and member of the National Coal Council. He recently won the John E. Wilson Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Utah.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Kohler
Associate Director for Mining and Construction, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIOSH. CDC is the federal agency responsible for conducting mine safety and health research. Kohler formerly served as Director of the NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in Mining Engineering, Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Thomas Novak
Chairman, Department of Mining and Mineral Engineering, Virginia Tech. Previously he headed the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alabama. Dr. Novak is internationally known for his research on electrical applications in the mining industry and has developed several short courses for continuing education for professional engineers. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Cecil E. Roberts, Jr.
President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). A sixth-generation coal miner, Roberts is the preeminent union representative of mining workers. After serving three times as union vice president, Roberts became UMWA president in 1995 and in 2004 won election to a new five-year term - winning the presidency by acclamation for the third time. Roberts was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities, West Virginia University of Technology.

H. F. "Buddy" Webb
First Vice President, the U.S. Mine Rescue Association and Mine Rescue Trainer, WIPP. Webb also currently serves as a Member of the MSHA National Mine Rescue Advisory Committee. Webb began his career in mine rescue in 1978 as a rescue team member at the Kerr-McGee Potash Corporation and that year became the first secretary and founding member of the New Mexico Rescue Association. His expertise in mine rescue is recognized nationwide and has been called upon by most rescue teams across the country. His position with MSHA allows him to play a leading role in formulating mine rescue procedures.