Washington D-C – A bill to make coal mining safer won the
endorsement of a key Senate committee today (Wednesday).
Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee
unanimously backed the bill. The legislation was put together by
Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Senator Edward Kennedy of
Both lawmakers say they were moved to act after a pair of
accidents in January killed 14 West Virginia coal miners.
West Virginia Senators Robert C- Byrd and Jay Rockefeller say
the bill is a significant step for mine safety.
The legislation would require miners to have at least two hours
of oxygen available instead of one as under the current policy. It
also would require mine operators to store extra oxygen packs along
escape routes, and have two-way wireless communications and
tracking systems in place within three years.
House lawmakers say they also hope to approve mine safety