Today the U.S. House narrowly approved (214-199) a bill to beef up mine safety, even though a big overhaul of safety measures was enacted less than two years ago. Congressman Don Young was among those who voted “no.” The bill is aimed at shaft mining and is largely in response to the Utah coal mine collapse in August that ended up killing 6 miners and 3 rescue personnel. It would put new restrictions on the practice of “retreat mining,” which is believed to be a big factor in the Utah mine collapse. It would also impose new standards to contain mine explosions and fires, improve emergency response and give federal mining regulators more authority to clamp down on safety violators. And it would update standards to combat health risks miners face, such as black lung disease and asbestos exposure.
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC