Mine safety agency chief announces emergency coal dust rule in response to W.Va. explosion

By Tim Huber, AP
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mine safety agency has new rule after W.Va. blast

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — The federal government is implementing an emergency rule that will require underground mines to do more to control explosive coal dust following an explosion in West Virginia in April.

Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joe Main announced the change at an industry conference Tuesday. The announcement comes amid mounting evidence that coal dust played a role in the blast that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine.

The change will increase the amount to 80 percent of pulverized stone or other material that mines must use to dilute coal dust in tunnels that bring fresh air into mines.

Main says the change is based on federal research that shows decreasing the amount of coal dust can prevent explosions.

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