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Mine safety nominee says laws adequate, stricter enforcement needed

[JURIST] During testimony before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [official website] on Tuesday, Richard Sticker, George Bush's nominee to head the Mine Safety and Health Agency [official website], told senators that current mine safety laws were adequate, and that problems arise because of insufficient enforcement. President Bush first announced Stickler's nomination [press release] to the post in September, but the nomination did not receive substantial scrutiny until the mining disaster in Sago, West Virginia on January 2, in which 12 miners died. Both the West Virginia and federal governments began focusing on mining safety, and both governments moved quickly [JURIST report] to fix the known problems that led to the incident. Critics of the Stickler nomination, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website] and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) [official website] voiced their frustrations with the nominee. Clinton stated her intention to perform a "close analysis" of Stickler's health and safety record, while Kennedy said he intends to vote against confirmation. The committee offers hearing materials. USA Today has more.

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