West Virginia Governor Calls for Scrutiny of Mines with Violations

April 14, 2010

Gov. Joe Manchin believes West Virginia can respond to last week’s deadly mine explosion by targeting other mines that may harbor similar dangers.

The cause behind the April 5 blast that killed 29 men in the Upper Big Branch mine remains unknown. But Manchin said methane gas, coal dust or both fueled it.

That has prompted the governor to call for scrutiny of mines with a record of violations in these areas. Operators must ventilate their mines to avoid methane buildups, and spray rock dust to prevent coal dust from exploding.

But Manchin said he also wants the state to target the most serious violations without hitting delays caused by legal proceedings. The governor said his administration is reviewing what additional measures may be needed to ensure that.

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