Feds May Allow State-Approved Shelters Under Breathable Air Rule

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A tentative deal worked out by West
Virginia and federal regulators may open the door for airtight
rescue chambers in underground coal mines.
The agreement focuses on conflicting state and federal
requirements. West Virginia regulations require rescue chambers
capable of sustaining miners for at least two days. A recent
federal Mine Safety and Health Administration edict ignores rescue
chambers, but mandates four days of emergency air supplies in the
600 or so underground coal mines across the country.
Moreover, MSHA demanded emergency air plans within 30
days of its March eighth order while West Virginia operators have
until April 15th to submit rescue chamber plans to the state Office
of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.
Both rules came during a flurry of new mining laws issued after
12 miners died in the Sago Mine accident in January last year and
two other high-profile accidents later in the year killed two coal
miners in West Virginia and five in Kentucky.

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

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