CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Federal regulators hope to move forward this month to finalize a rule aimed at ending deadly black lung disease, according to the latest schedule released by the White House.
The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration is now listing December 2013 as its target date for issuing a rule that, as proposed three years ago, would cut in half the legal limit for dust that causes the disease.
MSHA had previously said the final rule would be issued in September, but missed that date after agency officials did not forward a final draft for White House Office of Management and Budget approval until late August.
The rule has been repeatedly postponed, held up in part by Republicans in Congress who insisted on a U.S. Government Accountability Office audit, but also delayed by MSHA and the Labor Department.
The Obama administration included the latest timeline in the Labor Department's most recent semiannual regulatory agenda, which was made public last week.
In that regulatory agenda, MSHA also pushed back timelines for two key proposals to require coal mine operators to use proximity detection technology on continuous mining machines and other underground coal mining equipment.
Those proposals are meant to curb deaths and injuries from miners being crushed or pinned by fast-moving underground mining equipment.