Breaking news from Sago in the early hours of Jan. 2, 2006, gripped the nation and prompted a call for new regulations and innovative solutions in the mining industry. Since that time, some progress has occurred, butas evidenced by the Utah mine tragedy on Aug. 8the wheels of progress are not turning fast enough. As often happens with headline grabbing disasters, public attention wanes, and the momentum to affect change by addressing critical issues stalls.

On Friday (Nov. 2), the West Virginia Law Review and national experts will do their part to continue the important search for answers and work to raise awareness as they present part two ofThinking Outside of the Box: A Post-Sago Look at Coal Mine Safety.The symposium will be at 1 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the West Virginia University College of Law, where a diverse group of experts in mining and mine safety will explore where we have come in the 20 months since Sago occurred. Part one of the symposium took place March 21.

The West Virginia Law Review has assembled a first-class group of representatives from government, labor, industry and academia to discuss the extent to which workplace health and safety regulations are keeping our miners out of harms way,said Anne Marie Lofaso, one of two College of Law professors advising the Law Review in its planning for the symposium.We expect a candid discussion of the regulatory frameworks triumphs and failures to better understand how to prevent future disasters.

John W. Fisher II, dean of the WVU College of Law, added that panelists will also examine how coal can be mined in an economically competitive way and at the same time ensure the safety of the miners involved.

The symposium will be of great interest to not only those involved in the coal industry but also to those interested in the economy of the state,he said.We are pleased to provide a forum to continue focusing attention on the remedies and where we are in the follow-up to Sago. Obviously, mining issues are of great interest to the state of West Virginia, but mine safety in particular has been in the news as disasters are still occurring that could benefit from remedies that will be discussed at this event.

The panelists for the symposium are:

  • Edward St. Clair, assistant solicitor for Mine Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Dr. Jeffery Kohler, assistant director for mining at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health;
  • Alison Morantz, associate professor of law, and John A. Wilson, Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the Stanford Law School;
  • C. Gregory Ruffennach, an attorney who advises mine operators on compliance issues under the federal Mine Safety and Health Act;
  • David Vladeck, professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center; and
  • Patrick McGinley, WVU law professor.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Law Review at 304-293-2301 or by e-mail at , or visit