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Name: Stickler, Richard
Current Position: Former Acting Assistant Secretary

A native of West Virginia, Richard E. Stickler served as the assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health beginning in October 2006. After the Senate rejected his nomination by President Bush, Stickler was given a recess appointment which expired in December 2007. In January 2008, President Bush re-nominated Stickler, this time as acting assistant secretary.

Stickler received a bachelor’s of science degree in general engineering from Fairmont State University in 1968 and was certified as a mine safety professional by the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals.
A third-generation coal miner, Stickler worked for more than 37 years in the mining business. He began his career as an underground coal miner, then moved on to captain of a mine rescue team, first line foreman and shift foreman, working his way up the ladder to superintendent and mine manager. Stickler was director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety from 1997 to 2003. He served as a planner and decision-maker at the command center during the Quecreek Mine rescue operation in Pennsylvania in July 2002.
The United Mine Workers compiled statistics showing that the injury rates at coal mines managed by Stickler between 1989 and 1996 were double the national average in six of eight years. Stickler’s leadership also was severely questioned in the wake of the Crandall Canyon mine cave-in in August 2007. During Congressional hearings that followed the disaster, MSHA was accused of carrying out a “tepid, disjointed and minimizing approach to mine safety.”
Another review, another list of MSHA enforcement lapses (by Ken Ward, Jr., Charleston Gazette)
Safety Agency Is Questioned on Collapse at Utah Mine (by Sarah Abruzzese, New York Times)
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