New Federal Laws Hurting Small Coal Companies
I was young on this mountain but now I am old
And I knew every holler, every cool swimmin' hole
‘Til one night I lay down and woke up to find
That my childhood was over and I went down in the mine
There's a hole in this mountain and it's dark and it's deep
And God only knows all the secrets it keeps
There's a chill in the air only miners can feel
There're ghosts in the tunnels that the company sealed~Steve Earle
New laws are hurting small mining companies -
The MINER Act of 2006 was passed by Congress to raise safety standards for underground mines in the wake of two accidents that year with multiple fatalities.
Among the act’s provisions is a requirement that all mine operators must provided for two certified mine rescue teams. Teams must be available at a mine accident with one hour’s ground travel time from a mine rescue station, and must be familiar with the mine at which they will provide rescue services.
The state Division of Mines has came up with a solution.
The Division of Mines proposes solving the problem by establishing three state-sponsored mine rescue stations at Big Stone Gap, St. Paul and Vansant.
Those stations would covers all operators now in the Virginia program, and could possibly provide backup coverage for larger mine-site company teams.
The state would provide certified training for the responsible person at each mine, and certified training and annual re-training for new mine emergency first responders.
The rescue stations would be responsible for coordination, assistance and monitoring of mine emergency response plans and mine emergency development drills. Also, the state would develop and coordinate two annual mine rescue contests.
The proposal’s estimated costs include:
■ $1.5 million to build and equip the stations.
■ $546,000 for rescue team vehicles.
■ Materials for operations, $732,400.
■ Pay and benefits for station coordinators, $319,000.
■ Pay and benefits for rescue teams, $1.77 million.
Funding options include:
■ Funds from the state coal employment enhancement tax credit.
■ A per-ton “rescue” tax;
■ A direct user fee for each operator receiving services; and/or
■ A surcharge for coal-fired utility customers to support mine rescue.
Division of Mines representatives plan to meet with county representatives and others to seek support for funding options.
For those that can, read all about here. The Feds will never understand the concepts of mining.