8/22/2013 10:09 AM
by Nadine Grimley
CHARLESTON - A state board offered a change to a key portion of a mine safety bill dealing with methane monitoring.
The State Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety decided to seek a requirement that mining equipment automatically shut down when methane gas was detected underground at concentrations of 1.5%. Proposed state regulations would have cut that to 1.25%, while federal rules require shutdowns at 2% or more.
Methane is explosive and is considered a threat when it reaches a five to 15% concentration.
The change was in response to the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster that killed 29 men.