Belt Air Hearing Set For Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - It's the public's turn to comment on proposed federal rules that would allow coal mines to continue using conveyer belt tunnels for ventilation.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has scheduled a public hearing on the rules Tuesday in Charleston.

The United Mine Workers has criticized ventilating with belt air, saying the practice is dangerous.

Additionally, MSHA's proposal would require flame-resistant belts, carbon monoxide detectors instead of heat-sensing fire alarms, standardized directional signals on lifelines leading to escape routes, emergency air supplies and airtight shelters, among other things.

The rules are required by federal legislation adopted after the fatal 2006 Sago Mine explosion in West Virginia and other high-profile accidents.

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