W.Va. lawmakers pass mine bill to governor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia will update its mine
safety laws in the wake of the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in
four decades.

The House of Delegates sent the measure to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
on Tuesday. Delegates approved several changes made by the Senate.

Both chambers passed the bill unanimously.

Tomblin proposed the legislation. Its provisions include several
targeting methane gas and coal dust levels. Both played roles in
the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster that killed 29 West Virginia

The bill requires senior mine officials to sign off on safety
logs regularly. It increases penalties for safety violations, and
threatens a new felony offense when such violations cause a death.

Mine employees in safety-sensitive jobs would also face random
drug screenings under the bill.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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