Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied a challenge brought by two separate groups representing the coal industry to the final rule Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors. See Nat’l Mining Ass’n v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, 11th Cir., No. 14-11942.  The court denied a challenge to MSHA’s authority to issue the rule under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main stated:

When the final rule went into effect in August 2014, some critics insisted that mines would be unable to comply with the requirements. That assumption has been proved incorrect. According to sampling results, industry compliance is at 99 percent. As we prepare for Phase II of the rule to begin on Feb. 1, I am increasingly hopeful that we can eradicate black lung once and for all.

Phase II requires, among other things, the use of a continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM) to monitor underground coal mine occupations exposed to the highest respirable dust concentrations, as well as all miners with evidence of black lung (Part 90 miners).