The Associated Press
MSHA says inspections have improved mine safety
CHARLESTON (AP) — Federal mine safety regulators say violations are down since monthly impact inspections of mining operations began in 2010.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Thursday that total violations per 100 on-site inspection hours fell 15 percent in coal mines and 13 percent in metal/nonmetal mines from April 2010 through December 2012.
Significant and substantial violations declined 19 percent in coal mines and 33 percent in metal/nonmetal mines.
But MSHA director Joe Main says some mine operators still haven’t gotten the message.
The agency issued 245 citations at nine coal mines and six metal/nonmetal mines during the latest round of inspections in January.
The inspections began after an April 2010 explosion killed 29 coal miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
Mine operation believed to be source of loud boom
CHARLESTON (AP) — State regulators believe they’ve solved the mystery of a loud noise heard across Kanawha County earlier this week.
Department of Environmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting chief Dave Vande Linde says the Tuesday evening blast occurred the same time a mining operation used a controlled explosion to extract coal.
Vande Linde tells media outlets the blast occurred at Kingston Industries’ Rush Creek No. 2 Mine south of Charleston. The mine is owned by Revelation Energy of Pikeville, Ky.
Vande Linde says the noise produced by the blast was within state legal limits, but weather conditions may have caused the sound to carry a longer distance.
Government revisiting $24 million router deal
CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia officials are reconsidering where to install high-capacity Internet routers purchased with federal stimulus funds after audits blistered the $24 million deal.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Thursday announced a 30-day review of the schools, libraries and other community institutions slated to host these routers.
Among other concerns, legislative auditors slammed the buying of Cisco routers for anchor sites that would never need their capacity. Five are within a half-mile of each other in Clay County where less than 500 people live. And while a Kanawha County public library located in a single-wide trailer got a router, an area high school with more than 1,200 students did not.
Tomblin also said Cisco has agreed to exchange unneeded routers while extending all warranties by three years.
State Senate proposes aid for kids of slain troopers
CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has proposed giving larger college scholarships to the children of state troopers who die in the line of duty.
In addition to other benefits, the children of slain state troopers are currently entitled to $7,500 to go toward tuition at state colleges or vocational schools.
Under the bill introduced Thursday, the scholarship would rise to $7,500 for every year of college.
The bill is co-sponsored by every one of the Senate’s 34 members.
Senate President Jeffrey Kessler said that the bill was not in direct response to the two state troopers killed in Clay County in August 2012. But he expects the scholarships to apply retroactively to those troopers’ families.