kysealFRANKFORT, Ky. (6/2/14) — A thirty percent budget cut directed by the General Assembly is forcing the state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing to reorganize in preparation for balancing the agency’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters announced Friday.

Legislators reduced the OMSL budget by $4.3 million each year of the two-year budget enacted during the 2014 General Assembly. Lawmakers also reduced the number of mandatory annual mine safety inspections, from six to four.

Gov. Steve Beshear said the restructuring, which will be implemented by an executive order effective June 1, 2014, was forced upon the Cabinet when his proposal to fully fund mine safety and inspection functions was significantly reduced by the General Assembly in the two-year state budget. He predicted the budget cut would have both tangible and symbolic impact.

Despite the declines in coal mining, employment and coal sales, there continue to be many mine sites that need inspecting, monitoring and oversight, Gov. Beshear said.

“For years Kentucky made mine safety a high priority and dedicated resources to assure a higher safety standard than the federal government requires,” Gov. Beshear said. “I am disappointed that the General Assembly decided to retreat from that standard and only meet the minimum requirements.”

Although he said he disagreed with the General Assembly’s decision to reduce funding, the Governor said he would work with the Cabinet to assure the highest level of safety possible with the funding available.

Under the reorganization, OMSL will become the Division of Mine Safety in the Department for Natural Resources.

“The stark reality is, we are left with a bare bones budget and the only recourse is to reorganize,” Secretary Peters said. “My concern going forward is for the safety of all Kentucky miners. The division will be challenged to make the inspections necessary to keep our miners safe. That continues to be our top priority.”

The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing has offices in Frankfort, Barbourville, Harlan, Hazard, Madisonville, Martin and Pikeville and employs approximately 140 staff.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Dick Brown

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (3/28/15) ― The following meetings and events are scheduled for the following week: The Sound of… Read More

Madisonville Fire Department Reports Released

MADISONVILLE, KY (3/28/15) ― After investigating a Friday morning house fire that displaced a family, city officials… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 27, 2015 5519

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 25, 2015 5240

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 5057

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 4988

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4182

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 25, 2015 3949

Madisonville Man's Living Room Leap Lands Him in…

by Madisonville Police Department / Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

March 09, 2015 13370

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

March 02, 2015 11523

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 28, 2015 2145

Young Child Dies in Princeton Fire

by Chris Rogers, KSP
March 28, 2015 1190

Tractor Trailer Takes Out Guardrail on I-69,…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 28, 2015 1023

VIDEO: Shoe Charity Expands to 'Sweet Sixteen'…

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
March 28, 2015 723

Commission Hears More Proposals for Subdividing…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 28, 2015 691

Independence Bank Scholarship Reception Held…

by Lynnsie Fulkerson
March 27, 2015 640

KSP Charges Jefferson County Man with Possession…

by Kentucky State Police
March 27, 2015 624

Alltech Brewing and Distilling Academy Launches…

by Danielle Palmer
March 27, 2015 548

It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

by Beth Fisher
March 28, 2015 498

Four Roses to Build Bottling Facility in Bullitt…

by Office of the Governor
March 28, 2015 468

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News