LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Some disturbing images were presented to a
federal panel hearing testimony today on a rule requiring stronger
seals for abandoned sections of underground coal mines.
The seals in the underground mine were supposed to block
explosive gases, but they are weak, cracked, damaged - allowing
water to gush through them.
Letcher County coal miner Charles Howard filmed the leaky seals
in April at the underground mine where he works. Howard urged the
panel to strengthen the temporary rule announced in May and make it
a permanent one.
The new rule requires mine operators to replace current seals
with stronger ones, to monitor the atmosphere behind them for
explosive gases and, in some cases, to evacuate miners.
More than half of the nation's underground coal mines seal
abandoned areas and those mines employ more than 70 percent of the
nation's 42,700 underground miners, according to M-SHA.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)