David Zatezalo

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David Zatezalo
David G. Zatezalo official photo.jpg
9th Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health
Assumed office
November 30, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Joe Main
Personal details
Born 1955 (age 62–63)
Spouse(s) Jo Lynn[1]
Residence Wheeling, West Virginia
Education Ohio University (BS)
West Virginia University (MBA)

David G. Zatezalo (born 1955) is a former American coal industry executive who currently serves as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health where he heads the Mine Safety and Health Administration.[2]

Career in coal industry[edit]

In 1974, Zatezalo began his mining career with Consolidation Coal Company, where he worked as a United Mine Workers laborer. He became a foreman and was later named general superintendent for Southern Ohio Coal Company and general manager of the Windsor Coal Company. Zatezalo has served as vice president of operations of American Electric Power's Appalachian mining operations, as general mine manager for Broken Hill Proprietary, and as president of Hopedale Mining.[3]

From 2007 to 2014, Zatezalo was chairman of the coal company Rhino Resources.[4] Rhino Resources clashed with federal regulators when the Obama administration tried to boost industry-wide mine safety enforcement.[3] The company received pattern of violations warning letters from MSHA in 2010 and 2011, during a time when agency executive Joe Main was increasing enforcement following the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.[5]

Mine Safety and Health Administration[edit]

In September 2017, Zatezalo was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the next head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.[6] Robert E. Murray urged him to come out of retirement to take the role.[1] Zatezalo's first task will be to shepherd a relaxed inspection rule for hard rock mines.[7]

Zatezalo's nomination was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on September 5, 2017. Ahead of his confirmation hearings, Democrats asked for details of the warnings at the Eagle #1 mine.[8][9] Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he would oppose Zatezalo's nomination.[10] Zatezalo's confirmation hearing was October 4, 2017.[11] The committee voted 12-11 in favor of advancing his nomination.[12] Zatezalo's nomination was secured by a 52-46 vote on November 15.[13][2]

Under Zatezalo, the MSHA indicated it would reexamine standards for rock and coal dust and diesel emissions in mines. In December 2017, the agency asked for public comment on procedures that would be less burdensome on the industry.[14]


  1. ^ a b McCabe, John (September 4, 2017). "Meet Wheeling's David Zatezalo, President Trump's nominee For MSHA Chief". West Virginia Press Association. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b Cama, Timothy (15 November 2017). "Senate confirms Trump's mine safety pick". The Hill. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b "President Trump Nominates Wheeling's David Zatezalo As Nation's Top Mine Safety Official". The Intelligencer. September 3, 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  4. ^ "David Zatezalo, ex-coal executive, to lead nation's top mine safety agency". CNBC. Associated Press. September 3, 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  5. ^ Ward Jr., Ken (September 2, 2017). "Trump nominates former coal exec to run MSHA". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Nomination of David G. Zatezalo". U.S. Congress. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  7. ^ Eilperin, Juliet (September 13, 2017). "Mining safety agency proposes relaxing inspection rule for hard rock mines". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  8. ^ Cama, Timothy (Sep 26, 2017). "Dems probe mine safety record at Trump nominee's company". The Hill. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  9. ^ Ward Jr, Ken (September 27, 2017). "Manchin will oppose Trump mine safety nominee". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  10. ^ Cama, Timothy (September 27, 2017). "Sen. Manchin won't vote for Trump's mine safety nominee". The Hill. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  11. ^ Ward Jr, Ken (October 4, 2017). "MSHA pick quizzed on Blankenship, black lung, safety record". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Zatezalo Nomination Clears Senate Committee". Wheeling News Register. October 18, 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  13. ^ Schimmel, Becca (15 November 2017). "Controversial Mine Safety Nominee Faces Final Vote". Ohio Valley Resource. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Health regulations for miners being re-evaluated". Portland Press Herald. December 16, 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.