March 9, 2023 - U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will construct a mine safety research facility and laboratory in Mace, West Virginia. Senator Manchin secured the funding for the design and construction of the new site as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 omnibus.
“I am thrilled to announce the first new federal facility in West Virginia in decades. It is only fitting that the epicenter for mine safety research would be in West Virginia given our proud history of mining the coal that powered our nation to greatness. I am also pleased that the CDC has committed to investing in water and wastewater systems upgrades that will benefit the local community as part of the new facility’s construction. I look forward to this continued partnership for years to come,” said Senator Manchin.
Lake Lynn Laboratory was a highly sophisticated, multipurpose mining research laboratory operated by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While the entrance to the facility was located in Pennsylvania, it crossed the West Virginia border underground into Monongalia County. The site consisted of an underground experimental mine and an aboveground fire-testing facility which were used to conduct critical mine safety and health research. NIOSH was forced to vacate the site in 2012 and has been searching for a replacement location since. The new site in Mace is the only location in the United States that meets the specific geologic criteria that will allow researchers to accommodate full-scale testing to continue the vital work conducted at Lake Lynn.
“This facility is much needed after losing the Lake Lynn facility. The research will significantly improve protections in miners’ health and safety. We are pleased this world class facility will be located in West Virginia, in the heart of the coalfields. Coal Mine Health and Safety is achieved at many levels. This facility will save lives and provide both the industry and miners with the knowledge needed to ensure miners return home safely every day,” said United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts.
Senator Manchin worked closely with the CDC, the General Services Administration (GSA), and local stakeholders throughout this process. As a result of Senator Manchin’s efforts, the CDC has committed, as part of its plan to purchase the property, to invest in local water and wastewater infrastructure improvements to directly benefit the surrounding Pocahontas County community. The total federal investment to construct the facility is estimated at approximately $94 million and, once fully operational, the site will have twelve full-time federal employees.