House Panel OK's Mine Safety Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - A congressional committee endorsed legislation today aimed at improving mine emergency response plans.
The Supplementary Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act also would strengthen rescue, recovery and accident
investigation practices.
The House Education and Labor Committee advanced the bill on a
26-18 vote.
Other provisions include improving the federal Mine Safety and
Health Administration's ability to enforce health and safety
regulations. The legislation also would update a standard designed
to prevent miners from developing black lung disease.
Education and Labor Chairman George Miller says the mining
fatality rate is more than seven times the average of all private
United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts says today's vote is
a huge step in the right direction. He called on the full House of
Representatives to pass the bill.
Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy has introduced a similar bill
in the Senate.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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