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State set to debate coal mine methane rules again

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is again discussing a new rule that could toughen the standards for methane gas in the state's coal mines.

But it's unclear whether the board will act when it meets today at the Charleston Civic Center. Officials have been wrangling over definitions and a timetable for implementation.

Federal rules require mining equipment to shut down at methane concentrations of 2 percent or more. Proposed state regulations would cut that to 1.25 percent if the levels are sustained.

But the definition of "sustained'' is still being debated. So are the timetables to retrofit equipment and implement the rule.

The standard was approved by legislation about a year ago, but state regulators can't implement it until the board finishes writing the rules.

 


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