Mine safety bill clears first Senate hurdle - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Mine safety bill clears first Senate hurdle

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Mine safety legislation that was largely a reaction to the explosion of the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County is a step closer to the Governor's desk.

House Bill 4351, an amalgamation of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's mine safety bill and additional provisions from members, passed the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining committee Thursday morning. The bill already passed the full House and must now pass the Senate Judiciary committee before facing a vote on the Senate floor.

The bill went through the Senate energy committee with only one minor question from Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, relating to the drug testing of miners.

Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, indicated the bill would likely go through the Senate without alteration. The governor has already expressed satisfaction with the changes made by the House.

Among other provisions, the bill codifies an anonymous tip line for miners to report safety issues, provides a method for submission of ventilation plans, increases state rock dust standards and tightens methane level shutdown limits, increases criminal accountability following a mine accident.

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