Mine Settlement Calls For Underground Optical Meters< < Back to
The $210 million settlement with Alpha Natural Resources over the deadly explosion at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine does something regulators first recommended more than 20 years ago.
Under the deal, Virginia-based Alpha will install optical meters at 104 underground coal mines, including those it bought from Massey Energy.
The Charleston Gazette says the former U.S. Bureau of Mines recommended the device to determine instantly if mines are dusted with enough pulverized limestone to prevent coal dust explosions.
But the Mine Safety and Health Administration has never tried to mandate their use, and the National Mining Association won't say whether other companies will follow Alpha's lead.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says people have long believed disasters are an inherent risk of mining, but he calls that a myth.