Morgantown, WV
7000 Hampton Center
Morgantown, WV 26505
T: (304) 285-2508
F: (304) 285-2526

J.D., Capital University Law School (1986)

M.Ed., Ohio University (1979)

B.S., cum laude, Ohio University (1976)

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • District of Columbia Supreme Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia
Photo of Rebecca J.  Oblak

Rebecca J. Oblak


Rebecca Oblak began her legal career initially representing a large coal operator, which was bombarded with alleged federal (MSHA) and state (OMHS&T) violations in the area of safety and health.  She has represented mine (surface and underground - hard rock, aggregate, metal/nonmetal) operators, independent contractors, quarry/sand/gravel operators and mining vendors involving safety and health issues, 110(c) civil and criminal special investigations and proceedings, 105(c) discrimination temporary reinstatement proceedings and/or hearings, petitions for modifications, conference and litigation representation,  regulatory compliance, and serious accidents and mine fatalities under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (i.e., the “ Mine Act”) and the 2006 MINER Act. 

Rebecca has represented operators and independent contractors in many states across the country, which include but are not limited to, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Colorado, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Utah and Tennessee. Rebecca also provides clients with the following assistance:  presentation of compliance training seminars for front line supervisors and safety specialists; development of specialized regulatory and compliance audits; introduction and perspectives on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (i.e., the Mine Act) and the MINER Act of 2006; audit evaluations;  accident and/or fatal investigations; representation of surface and/or underground mine management with state and federal investigations; consulting services for specific mine needs;  and compliance with Corrective Action Plan reviews and development for companies placed on MSHA’s Pattern of Violation (“POV”) designations.

In addition, Rebecca has assisted a number of corporate clients with contractual and administrative (health and safety) regulatory issues, including representation before the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Occupational Pneumoconiosis Board in hundreds of workers’ compensation claims.

Professional Highlights

  • Leader, Bowles Rice Mine Safety and Health Practice;
  • Successfully represented mine operator in diverting a potential “POV” (Pattern of Violation) provision under the Mine Act/MINER Act;

  • Provide counsel to independent contractor at metal/non-metal mine  and negotiated violations be vacated;

  • Represented surface mine operator and negotiated reduction and vacation of  20 alleged violations;

  • Represented five (5) mine managers in Section 110(c) civil investigations and negotiated reduction in penalties in three of the cases and vacated two;
  • Represented independent contractor in mine explosion with four fatalities and negotiated settlement with reduced penalties and violations;
  • Substantial experience in auditing mine operators’ violation and injury history and development of a plan to reduce alleged violations;
  • Advise and represent mine operator and development and negotiate Corrective Action Plan with the regulatory agency to alleviate a Pattern of Violation designation to the operator;

  • Has trained in excess of 1,000 front line supervisors in the compliance of the Mine/MINER Acts regarding MSHA and OSHA.

  • American Bar Association
  • West Virginia Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Monongalia County (WV) Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • National Mining Association (1990-2014)
  • West Virginia Coal Association
  • Kentucky Coal Association
  • Holmes Safety Association
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • West Virginia Coal Mining Institute
  • Kanawha Valley Mining Institute
  • Tug Valley Mining Institute
  • Past President of the Imperial View Property Owners’ Association (3 yrs)
  • President of the Turtle Creek Homeowners Association

  • Advisor to members of the Deerwood Homeowners’ Association