The Mine Safety and Health Administration is issuing a final set of rules for underground coal mine examinations that aim to hold operators more accountable for finding and fixing hazards.
A rock burst at a mine in northern Idaho Wednesday evening injured seven miners, a company spokeswoman said.
The incident happened more than a mile underground at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, according to Melanie Hennessey, a company vice president.
Twenty-five miners were in the area at the time, she said. The injured miners were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The Global InfoMine website describes a rock burst as “an explosive failure of rock which occurs when very high stress concentrations are induced around underground openings.”
Lucky Friday mine, Idaho:
The roof of a northeast Idaho mine collapsed Friday, trapping a man inside and setting off a complex rescue operation to save him, the mine’s owner and operator said Saturday.
The miner was one of two men working in part of the Lucky Friday Mine when a 10-by-20-foot section of mostly rock fell on him around 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to Phil Baker, president and CEO of the Hecla Mining Co.
He added that no more than 75 feet — out of a 2,200-foot stretch of the mine — collapsed, with all this happening 6,150 feet below the earth’s surface.
Lucky Friday mine, Idaho:
The body of an Idaho miner trapped when the roof of the mine he was working in collapsed nine days ago was recovered Sunday afternoon, the company that owns and operates the mine said.
“Words cannot express the deep sorrow we feel at the tragic loss of our friend, colleague and 30-year veteran of the mining industry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones and friends,” Hecla Mining Company said in a statement announcing that the body of Larry Marek had been recovered.
Oct. 29–PRINCETON — The West Virginia Coal Association is working shoulder to shoulder with FACES (the Federation for American Coal, Energy & Security) to encourage people in the coalfield region to ask their senators to either vote on H.R. 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011” or a companion piece of legislation that could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate soon.
The house passed H.R. 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011” in July with solid bipartisan support, but the Senate is yet to address the issue. The bill includes protections for states that already have EPA-approved water quality standards and permitting authority under the Clean Water Act; sets reasonable time limits for agency comment periods and helps reduce pointless bureaucratic delays in the section 404B permitting process; and places limits on EPA’s ability to veto dredge and fill permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and gives states more flexibility to administer these permitting programs, according to the FACES press release.
“We’ve been running radio ads since July, encouraging people to contact their senators and ask them to take up the issue,” Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association said. “I know the environmentalists are putting out a lot of information about it being an attack on the Clean Water Act, but it’s really a states’ rights issue.”
Raney said H.R. 2018 “gives the authority back to the states where the original legislation intended it to be. It’s imperative that we get the senate to address this issue,” he said. “We’re working with U.S. Senator (Joe) Manchin (III, D-W.Va.) but it’s difficult to get something like this past (U.S.) Senator (Harry) Reid (D-Nev.).”
Raney said that the environmental community “has tried to emotionalize the issue, when it’s not an attempt to remove the Clean Water Act. It’s just an attempt to get states’ rights back into the bill,” he said.
Safety in the US mining industry has made significant progress over the decades. However, the early 2010 disaster in West Virginia was the worst since 1970 and will potentially have a significant impact on mine safety legislation, similar to the MINER Act of 2006, which was a response to the Sago Mine disaster and other mine fatalities in early 2006.
Generally, based on the historically elevated fatality rate, safety experts in the industry believe that the small mines have a relatively poor safety record as compared to the large mines; however, the results of a new study by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration indicate that the opposite is likely true.
West Virginia’s coal industry supports over 84,000 high paying jobs, and coal generates nearly 100 percent of the state’s electricity, allowing West Virginia to maintain the lowest energy prices in the nation. However, the EPA continues to block nearly 200 coal permit applications in Appalachia. In the meantime, thousands of high-paying coal mining jobs are at risk; tax revenues that sustain schools and vital services are lost; and the coal supplies that provide reliable and affordable electricity are at risk.
Send a message to your representatives urging them to protect coal mining in West Virginia and stop blocking coal permits.
Please consider attending an important congressional hearing on Monday in Charleston, WV.
The title of the hearing is “Jobs at Risk: Community Impacts of the Obama Administration’s Effort to Rewrite the Stream Buffer Zone Rule”.
The hearing will examine the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s (OSM) Stream Protection rule-making and its impact on jobs.
By OSM’s own analysis, the new rule would destroy more than 20,000 coal mining and related jobs.
We need your respectful participation at this hearing to show the congressional representatives in attendance that stakeholders in West Virginia’s coal economy believe the Stream Buffer Zone Rule is just one more attempt by this Administration to put Appalachian coal mining out of business, and with it, the region’s economy.
(Federation for American Coal, Energy & Security)
What: Charleston, WV Congressional Hearing of the
U.S. House Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee of the
Natural Resources Committee
When: Monday, September 26, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Doors Open at 8:00 a.m. (Arrive early!)
Where: Kanawha County Courthouse
2nd Floor, Historical Courtroom #4
407 Virginia Street, East