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West Virginia legislators unanimously approve mine safety bill

[JURIST] The West Virginia Legislature [official website] on Monday approved a bill, S. 247 [text], that covers a variety of mine safety improvements, including a rapid-response system, only days after a second mine accident in the state in a month killed two miners. The legislation, initially proposed by Gov. Joe Manchin [official website], was passed within a span of eight hours by both the state House and Senate. The bill, once signed by Manchin, will create a state rapid-response system and require mine operators to issue wireless communication and tracking devices to all underground miners and to provide more self-contained rescue devices. Also Monday, the US Senate Appropriations Committee [official website] held hearings [Washington Post report, registration required; hearing testimony] on mine safety, with some senators blaming budget cuts at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration [official website] for recent lapses. Gov. Manchin was expected to meet with President Bush and the state Congressional delegation on Tuesday. AP has more. The Charleston Gazette has local coverage.

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