Hearings To Highlight Federal Mine Safety Act Progress

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Safety in the nation's coalfields is the topic of a U.S. Senate hearing planned for this month.

Congress passed safety legislation last year and now West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd wants an update.

2006 was one of the deadliest years in the nation's coal mines since the mid 1990s. The year started off with the death of 12 men at the Sago Mine in Upshur County.

The February 28th hearing by the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee will feature testimony from federal and state regulators, the coal industry and labor. The hearing will be in Washington, DC.

Byrd says he wants to know how quickly the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration can increase its inspection staff and make other changes to improve mine safety.

The Democrat says he also is interested in hearing what other actions may be needed to safeguard underground coal miners.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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