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West Virginia Passes Laws Tightening Mine Safety


Lawmakers in West Virginia have approved a new set of mining safety laws spurred by two fatal accidents this month.

The new laws were passed Monday as part of a single legislative measure introduced by Democratic Governor Joe Manchin.

Under the new laws, mining companies are required to notify emergency personnel within 15 minutes of an accident, or face a $100,000 fine.

The companies must provide emergency oxygen supplies within the mine, and issue electronic tracking devices and personal communicators to the miners.

The bill's passage came just two days after two coal miners were killed in a mine fire in the town of Melville. Twelve men were killed in an earlier accident at the Sago Mine.

Also on Monday, lawmakers on a U.S. Senate committee harshly criticized Bush administration officials over budget cuts to the agency that oversees mine safety.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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