The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is an independent adjudicatory agency that provides administrative trial and appellate review of legal disputes arising under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act). The Commission is entirely independent and is not a component of the Department of Labor or Mine Safety and Health Administration.
As of August 30, 2018, the terms of Commissioners William Althen and Robert F. Cohen, Jr., expire. As a result, the Commission will lack a quorum of members and therefore will be without authority to take substantive actions in any of the cases pending before it until at least one additional Commissioner is both nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
However, in accordance with the statute, the remaining two Commissioners are authorized to affirmatively vote to grant review of any petition for discretionary review filed with the Commission. They are also authorized by the statute to sua sponte vote to grant review of any Administrative Law Judge decision regardless of whether a petition for discretionary review has been filed.
Until the Commission again has a quorum of members, all newly filed motions to reopen default cases will be acted upon by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, who may assign the default cases to Commission Judges as he sees fit.