Biden Appoints NLRB Board Lawyer as Chief Mine Safety Officer | Wyoming News

CHARLESTON, Va. (AP) – The choice of President Joe Biden to oversee mine safety in the United States is the second consecutive choice to lead the office from West Virginia.

Christopher Williamson was appointed by the president on Friday as deputy secretary for mines, safety and health at the Ministry of Labor.

Originally from Dingess, Mingo County, Williamson is currently Senior Counsel with the National Labor Relations Board. Williamson previously served on the leadership team of the Mine Safety and Health Administration under President Barack Obama.

He also worked as a union adviser in the United States Senate to then Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Tom Harkin of Iowa, and as legislative assistant to Senator de West Virginia Joe Manchin.

The White House said Williamson was Manchin’s main policy adviser on mine work, safety and health issues, pensions and agriculture and had also assisted him on energy and environmental policy.

“Chris Williamson is the most knowledgeable mine safety and health expert in Washington today,” the United Mine Workers union said in a statement. “His in-depth understanding of what it takes to ensure the safety and health of miners at work is unmatched, and I expect the Mine Safety and Health Administration to be a stronger advocate for miners under his leadership.”

Williamson would replace Wheeling’s David Zatezalo, who retired in 2014 as chairman of Rhino Resources and was Donald Trump’s choice as head of MSHA in 2017.

Williamson’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

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