Monday, January 07, 2008

Administration lags on new coal-mine rescue rules

"The Bush administration missed a legal deadline to finalize rules to require more and better-trained mine rescue teams across the nation’s coalfields," reports Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette. The deadline for the Labor Department to act was Dec. 15. "The rules are still not finalized, and are sitting at the White House, under review by the Office of Management and Budget."

Ward writes, "Lawmakers mandated changes in the rules after questions about the nation’s mine rescue capabilities following the deaths of 19 miners in the Sago and Darby disasters and the Aracoma Mine fire, all in 2006." Congress gave the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration 18 months to enact the rules, and "MSHA took nearly all of that time — 15 months of it." After a public comment period, "MSHA submitted its final version for OMB review on Dec. 13," two days before the deadline. (Read more)

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