Remarks on Signing Into Law the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977 and Air Cargo Deregulation Bill
THE PRESIDENT. This morning I'll sign two bills of great importance to our country. I think every American knows that a major contributing factor to our own economy is the courageous and sometimes endangered miners who go deep beneath the earth to bring to the surface, for our use, coal and other minerals.
This morning I will be signing a mine safety bill which goes far forward in protecting not only the miners in the coal fields of our country but also previously uncovered miners in the areas that produce minerals other than coal.
This sometimes is not highly publicized, but last year, 1976, we had 113 miners who were killed and more than 7,000 who were disabled in mines other than coal mines. This bill extends the same safety and health standards to those mines as has been the case with coal. In addition, in the past, the enforcement of the existing coal mining regulations has not been rapidly assured.
We all remember the tragedy in the Scotia mine, where repeated findings of ventilation faults, I think 63 or 64 of them, were uncorrected. And then we had a major tragedy in that mine. This bill permits a more rapid enforcement of the coal mining safety and health standards when defects are found.
The other very important aspect of this bill is that it transfers the enforcement of the mine safety and health acts to the Labor Department. These were formerly in the Interior Department. Ray Marshall is here, the Secretary of Labor, and I believe that there's a general recognition among the miners of our Nation and among the administration officials, including the Secretary of Interior, that this will mean a much closer relationship between the enforcement of this law by the Federal Government agency and those who live with their lives constantly in danger.
It's with a great deal of pleasure that I sign this legislation. I would particularly like to congratulate Carl Perkins, a Congressman who's been instrumental in this field for many, many years; Pete Williams, who can't be here. He's in New Jersey. New Jersey is almost covered with water. He felt that he ought to be with his own people today. And I particularly thank Senator Jennings Randolph for coming here today. His wife had an operation yesterday, and I'm very thankful that he's reported she came through in good condition.
This is a good step forward, and I'm very glad now to sign into law Senate bill 717, a new mine safety bill.
[At this point, the President signed S. 717 into law.]
Now, to change the subject to one that will be of growing importance during the next 3 years and, I hope, without delay. This is a bill which was originated in the House, bill number 6010, which deregulates air cargo. I hope this is just the first of many steps to get the Government out of the regulatory business, which quite often works contrary to the interests of consumers.
This bill will, at the moment it's signed, permit airlines, small and large, who haul exclusively cargo, to operate without constraint and let the workings of the market determine whether or not they enter this competitive field.
If an airline is reliable and properly and safely operated, it can begin to compete. This is a major step forward, and I hope that without delay this same general principle can be applied to the carrying of passengers.
This bill also helps with the first steps toward deregulation of passenger carrying. It permits the interrelationship between intrastate airlines and interstate airlines, where passengers can now, with a single transaction, change from one to another. Intrastate airlines, in carrying passengers, as you know, are not regulated by the Federal Government.
This also permits lower fares, if the airlines desire to use this authority for elderly people and for those who are handicapped, on a seat-available basis. And I'm sure that some airlines will now begin to offer this extra service to those who need special care in air transportation.
We have great work to do in this field. And I'm particularly grateful that Senator Cannon and the Senate committee have already reported out the air passenger deregulation bill. This is going to be a controversial measure, and I hope that the House will soon follow suit and that both Houses of Congress will move to approve this legislation.
I'm particularly grateful to Congressman Glenn Anderson and to Howard Cannon, the Senator, for this good work on air cargo deregulation and hope it is just a preview of what's going to come with the deregulation of other transportation industries.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
[At this point, the President signed H.R. 6010 into law.]
Well, I'm very proud of all of you. These are two good bills, and you've done very good work. I know part of it is quite controversial, and I think now you've got a big responsibility on your hands.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. And it will speed up the processing of the cases that are backed up.
THE PRESIDENT. I know. I hope you'll all make sure that Ray does a good job now. [Laughter]
We're very hopeful that we can have a new stimulation of coal production industries.
Good luck to all of you. Thank you.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. That last bill, Mr. President, the aid to the handicapped in travel, is very important.
THE PRESIDENT. I know. I hope some airlines will immediately do that.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. They will.
Note: The President spoke at 9:03 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
As enacted, S. 717 is Public Law 95-164, and H.R. 6010 is Public Law 95-163, approved November 9.
Jimmy Carter, Remarks on Signing Into Law the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977 and Air Cargo Deregulation Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242630