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A Note on Washington’s Failure to Modernize Mining Safety Standards

The Charleston Gazette runs a story today providing further suggestion that a failed 2008 mining safety bill might have helped prevent last week’s deadly mining

Jul 31, 2020
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The Charleston Gazette runs a story todayproviding further suggestion that a failed 2008 mining safety billmight have helpedprevent last week’s deadly mining explosion in southern West Virginia. Here’s the thing: Despite the evolution of coal mining and the embrace of powerful modern machinery, the country’s rules for controlling combustible coal dust are still based on research conducted in the 1920s, the Gazette reports.
The 2008 proposal — which passed the House but was abandoned in the Senate — would have moved toward modernizing those standards by requiring federal officials to study the effectiveness of current methods used by mining companies to make coal dust incombustible.
Though the cause of last week’s blast has yet to be determined, experts suspect that it was related to methane buildup, ignited by an unknown spark. The presence of coal dust, in such cases, can exacerbate an explosion — an occurrence also suspected in the West Virginia episode. The site of the blast — the Upper Big Branch Mine — had been cited dozens of times this year for violations related to ventilation and the accumulation of coal dust.
It’s not like the issue hasn’t been on the radar, the Gazette writes:
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published reports in 2006 and 2009 urging regulatory agencies to re-examine the standards, but no such action has been taken.
Look for this to be another in the long list of after-the-fact reforms considered by Congress and the White House in the wake of the West Virginia tragedy.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

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Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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