Update: West Virginia Cancels Mine Seal Meeting

May 1, 2008

The state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety has put off plans to revisit West Virginia’s regulations for sealing abandoned sections of coal mines.

State law requires the board to review West Virginia’s regulations because the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration changed its seal rules April 18. The board was scheduled to discuss the changes April 29, but canceled in favor of taking up the matter at its regular meeting in May.

The new rules stem from separate methane gas explosions in 2006 that killed 17 miners in West Virginia and Kentucky.

MSHA now requires seals to withstand at least 50 pounds of blast pressure per square inch. MSHA also requires operators to monitor for methane in sealed sections of mines if seals can’t withstand blasts of up to 120 psi.

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