Federal Mining Agency Released Final Safety Regulations

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The federal mine safety agency on Friday published a final rule requiring mine operators to have more emergency breathing devices, better evacuation training and a quicker response during accidents.

The rules were finalized after the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration held a series of public hearings on a set of temporary, yet stringent, mine safety regulations. The government adopted the temporary rules after January accidents at the Sago Mine killed 12 and the Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine killed two in West Virginia.

As the temporary rules were vetted this year, the federal MINER Act was signed into law, encompassing many of the same regulations found in MSHA's final standard.

"MSHA started this emergency rule when it was uncertain when MINER Act was going to pass," said Chris Hamilton, of the West Virginia Coal Association.

The final rules detail how mine operators should make improvements to meet the requirements of the act.

"These new requirement are an integrated approach to providing proper guidance to miners and mine operators during emergency situations," said MSHA chief Richard Stickler.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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