West Virginia House Passes Governor’s Mine Safety Bill

March 1, 2012

West Virginia’s House of Delegates has unanimously approved legislation meant to prevent a repeat of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed the bill that advanced Tuesday to the Senate. It includes provisions targeting methane gas and coal dust levels. Both fueled the Upper Big Branch explosion that killed 29 miners.

The measure also makes it a felony to cause a death by violating a safety standard. Another new crime would be announcing when inspectors enter a mine site.

Some provisions are unrelated to the 2010 Raleigh County disaster. Those include random drug testing for anyone in a safety-sensitive position in a mine.

House Speaker Rick Thompson left his rostrum to urge passage Tuesday. Thompson’s father died in a mining accident before he was born.

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