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STATEMENT OF NCA PRESIDENT RICHARD LAWSON IN RESPONSE TO THE DECISION ISSUED IN THE ABNORMAL WHITE CENTER LITIGATION

 WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Coal Association (NCA) issued the following statement by NCA President Richard Lawson:
 A federal judge ruled this week there is no basis to government allegations that irregularities in coal dust samples were due solely to tampering by coal operators. The decision was issued by Administrative Law Judge James Broderick of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission who stated: "The record shows too many other potential causes of the dust dislodgment patterns on the cited AWCs for me to accept the Secretary's circumstantial evidence as sufficient to carry his burden of proof that the mine operators intentionally altered the weight on the cited filters."
 Twenty-seven months ago Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin and Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health William Tattersall came before the American public and accused the coal industry of being "addicted to cheating." Their accusations resulted from an investigation conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration that concluded abnormal respirable coal dust samples exhibiting white centers (AWCs) could result only from intentional, deliberate acts on the part of the coal mine operators. At that time they alleged that 500 coal operators operating approximately 800 mines had altered samples by tampering with them to reduce the respirable dust content. Today, 27 months later, we know that the secretary and assistant secretary were wrong.
 Judge Broderick dismissed the allegation that AWCs could only be caused by deliberate acts, instead ruling that accidental causes such as rough handling, dropping cassettes and accidental pressure on the sampling hose could also result in AWC formation. He went on to conclude that a variable design feature of the cassettes, a manufacturing phenomenon for which no technical specifications exist, was the single greatest factor affecting a sample's propensity to the dislodgment of dust and the formation of AWCs.
 Much has been learned through the conduct of this proceeding. Labor and management alike need to have confidence in the sampling system, an element missing today. It is time for the government to direct its resources towards research rather than spurious litigation. The current sampling technology, developed in the 60's cannot be the technology used as we enter the 21st century.
 We call on Labor Secretary Reich to end the witch hunt begun by his predecessor and establish a mechanism to assure the early development of new sampling technology. We stand ready to enthusiastically participate in this effort. This is owed to miners and operators alike.
 -0- 7/22/93
 /CONTACT: John Grasser of the National Coal Association, 202-463-2651/


CO: National Coal Association ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL SU:

KD-MH -- DC023 -- 4680 07/22/93 15:09 EDT
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Date:Jul 22, 1993
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