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
  • State DHHR workers to picket over large caseloads

    West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources employees are picketing outside the agency's Fayette County office to raise awareness over what they call large, unmanageable caseloads.

    July 29, 2014

  • Arch Coal posts bigger 2Q loss

    Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter loss widened partly because of nagging rail disruptions and weaker prices for coal used in making steel, though cost controls helped the coal producer's latest earnings surpass analysts' expectations.

     

    July 29, 2014

  • Tunnel.jpg Tunnel traffic to be restricted to one lane for repairs

    Highway crews are planning to do additional repairs Tuesday night and Wednesday night inside of the East River Mountain. As a result, traffic inside of the tunnel will be limited to one lane in both directions, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Earl.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meth lab bust nets two Raleigh residents

    An anonymous phone call about two children in danger led authorities to a meth lab bust and the arrests of two Raleigh County residents Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress closes in on benefits for veterans

    On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.

    July 29, 2014

  • Voters to decide on youth nonprofit tax status

    Legislation passed late in the session in March will put one issue on the November ballot for voters — whether Boy Scouts’ Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will be able to rent its property and facilities to other organizations, and not pay property taxes on its 10,600 acres in Fayette County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Judge denies continuance; murder trial to begin Aug. 5

    The trial of a 24-year-old man accused of the first-degree murder of his stepfather will go on as scheduled, after a judge denied a defense motion Monday for a continuance.

    July 29, 2014

  • Litter can endanger public health

    Cleaning up Wyoming County remains an ongoing priority, according to County Commissioner Silas Mullins.

    July 29, 2014

  • tex Legends

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thief smashes AccessHealth Daniels' clinic's door

    July 28, 2014