10/12/2010 11:26 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Push To Unclog Backlog Of Contested Mine-Safety Citations Is Backfiring

A high-priority Obama administration push to unclog a backlog of contested mine safety citations is backfiring.

After a West Virginia coal mine explosion in April exposed a weak link in a system designed to identify safety violations, the government has spent $23 million to reform the system. A key objective: reducing a two-year logjam of citations under appeal, to ensure more effective responses from the industry to possible hazards.

Instead, the list of unresolved safety appeals has grown to 18,100 cases, from 16,600 at the time of the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine. The explosion killed 29 men.

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