MSHA Proposes Changes To Rescue Team Regulations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is proposing two new regulations it says will improve rescue operations at the nation's coal mines.

Interest in emergency response to mine disasters was spurred by deadly explosions at mines in West Virginia and Kentucky. That interest was renewed last month when six miners and three rescue workers died at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah.

MSHA's proposed regulations would require rescuers to reach a mine within one hour.

The agency says this proposal would add another 28 mine rescue stations to the 92 now in place.

The proposal would cover more than 42,000 miners at the nation's 653 underground mines.

MSHA also is proposing to update the equipment that must be available to rescue crews for all mines, not just coal mines.

Public hearings on the proposed rules are set for late October in Utah, Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama.

The rules follow the passage of last year's federal Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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