The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 30, 2013

Rule on methane in W.Va. mines remains stalled

CHARLESTON — A rule that could toughen the limits on methane gas levels in West Virginia coal mines remains stalled as state officials debate both definitions and a timetable for implementation.

The State Journal (http://bit.ly/14vmnzu) says Tuesday’s meeting of the state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety failed to reach a quorum because three members were out of town. The United Mine Workers of America confirmed Wednesday that the representatives were in St. Louis for a protest related to the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal.

That bankruptcy has jeopardized pension and health care benefits for some 20,000 retirees and dependents.

But board administrator Joel Watts says work on the new rule may not have been finished even if they’d been present.

Methane is explosive and considered a threat when it reaches a 5 percent to 15 percent concentration in the atmosphere.

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 Watts says the definition of “sustained” is still in discussion, as are timetables to retrofit equipment and implement the rule.

The methane rule was approved in legislation nearly a year ago, but state regulators can’t implement it until the board finishes writing the rules. The board missed that October deadline.

The West Virginia Coal Association says operators can’t comply with the new standard with the existing monitors on mining machines.

“There’s still a majority of members very hopeful that we can develop a set of rules that make sense on this topic,” said Chris Hamilton’s the association’s vice president. “We missed the deadline, but it’s always best to be a little late than not complete the task.”

———

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • rock VIdeo: Experts dislodge precariously perched remnant of a rockslide

    A highly-trained crew in climbing gear hoisted chainsaws and other specialized equipment high above the road in Hinton Tuesday morning to remove a boulder that hung precariously above a busy intersection.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Preliminary hearing set for Bluefield ‘warlock’

    A Bluefield man who police say used a promise of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him remains incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver on multiple sexual assault and sexual abuse charges.

    April 23, 2014

  • New River Gorge fire still burning

    Firefighters are still trying to control the fire at Fern Creek along the Endless Wall area of the New River Gorge, according to a press release from the National Park Service on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • fff Experts help growing entrepreneurs

    John Yates wants to grow potatoes to supply Monroe County schools.
    He’s got a business plan, he can get the equipment and 3 tons of seed potatoes. The land for lease in Sweet Springs is farther from his Ballard home than he’d like, but with a little help, the active duty Army staff sergeant and his sister Rebecca are ready to begin.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rahall calls meeting on W.Va.’s drug problem

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says he has arranged a roundtable discussion with federal and West Virginia officials on the state’s prescription drug abuse and trafficking problems.

    April 23, 2014

  • Arch Coal reports wider 1Q loss

    Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter loss widened as weaker prices and demand cut into its margins, prompting the mine operator to shave its outlook for shipments of coal used in making steel.

    April 22, 2014

  • Former Concord University police officer sentenced on sex charge involving juvenile

    A former Concord University police officer was sentenced Tuesday to a term of 10 to 20 years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse by a parent or custodian.

    April 22, 2014

  • Bly6bH3CYAA6Xdl.jpg-large.jpeg UPDATE: Ill. crew helps fight New River Gorge fire

    An Illinois-based firefighting crew has joined the effort to contain a wildfire in the New River Gorge National River.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thunderstorms, showers heading our way

    Today’s forecast lurches us a little further toward real spring weather, with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible after 2 p.m.

    April 22, 2014

  • State spring gobbler season to open next week

    The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says spring gobbler season will open Monday and run through May 24.

    April 22, 2014