WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump has chosen as the nation’s top mine safety official the former CEO of a coal company that repeatedly clashed with federal regulators when the Obama administration tried to boost industry-wide enforcement following the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Trump nominated former Rhino Resources executive David G. Zatezalo as assistant secretary of labor for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The announcement came at the start of the 3-day Labor Day weekend.
Zatezalo, of Wheeling, West Virginia, retired in late 2014 as chairman of Rhino after serving in several top posts. He joined the Lexington, Kentucky-based company in 2007.
Mining deaths are on the rise nationally after dropping for several years following the deaths of 29 miners in the April 2010 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.