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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION (01/12/76)

decided: January 12, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INDUSTRIAL BOARD
v.
UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Industrial Board in case of In Re: Appeal of United States Steel Corporation (Dilworth Mine, Rices Landing, Pennsylvania) from Department of Labor and Industry Compliance Order No. 209-6-175, Case No. 845-BH-S.

COUNSEL

A. Sieber Hollinger, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellant.

Herbert S. Cohen, Assistant Attorney General, with him Charles S. Solit, General Counsel, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 591]

United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) appeals to this Court from an adjudication of the Industrial Board (Board) commanding U.S. Steel to comply with that portion of an order of the Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety of the Department of Labor and Industry (Department) requiring submission of U.S. Steel's plans for the construction of six surface structures at its Dilworth Mine.

Our scope of review in this appeal is prescribed by Section 44 of the Administrative Agency Law, Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, as amended, 71 P.S. § 1710.44; therefore, the adjudication of the Board must be affirmed unless it is not in accordance with the law or unless it constitutes an arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable determination due to the absence of substantial evidence to support its findings.

Initially, we note that we have carefully scrutinized the record below, and we find that it more than adequately supports the factual findings of the Board. Of course, our review does not stop here, as we are additionally required to examine the adjudication for such errors of law as may have been committed by the Board. It is this aspect of our review that brings into focus the substance of this appeal.

The history of this case began in 1972 when U.S. Steel commenced the construction of its new Dilworth

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 592]

    bituminous coal mine at Rices Landing, Pennsylvania. In addition to the mine structures, machinery, and equipment installed beneath the surface of the earth, U.S. Steel also began erecting above the ground at the site of the mine various structures and items of machinery and equipment necessary to support the overall mining operation.

On July 8, 1974, the Department issued its compliance order, alleging U.S. Steel's violation of Section 8 of the Fire and Panic Act, Act of April 27, 1927, P.L. 465, as amended, 35 P.S. § 1228. This section, when applied to U.S. Steel, allegedly would require that company to submit its construction plans for 16 surface structures to the Department for approval prior to construction. Also, U.S. Steel would be required to obtain a subsequent Certificate of Occupancy from the Department after the final inspection of the structures.

On August 28, 1974, U.S. Steel perfected an appeal with the Board, which held its first hearing on October 22, 1974. Prior to a second hearing on November 27, 1974, the Department rescinded its original compliance order with respect to 10 of the 16 structures at issue. Therefore, at the second hearing only the status of the remaining six structures -- namely, (1) the oil storage building, (2) the carpenter shop, (3) the cleaning shed, (4) the hoist house, (5) the substation building, and (6) the water treatment plant -- was considered. On March 26, ...


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