WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has narrowly approved President Donald Trump’s selection of a retired coal company executive to oversee U.S. mining safety.
Senators on Wednesday confirmed David Zatezalo as assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health. The vote was 52-46.
Zatezalo retired in 2014 as chairman of Rhino Resources, a coal company cited for repeated safety violations. A miner died at a Rhino mine in West Virginia in 2011.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin opposed Zatezalo’s confirmation, saying he was not convinced Zatezalo was suited to oversee the federal agency that implements and enforces mine safety laws and standards.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky supported the nomination, saying Zatezalo “has a keen understanding of the challenges and risks sometimes associated with mining.”