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Mine rule survives

New federal rules that labor officials say could save lives at dangerous mining sites have survived a court challenge from mining industry groups.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit brought by the National Mining Association and other groups.

The new rules, approved in January, allow federal labor officials to designate a mine as a repeat violator of safety rules without a prior warning. It also allows regulators to impose the pattern of violations designation before mine operators are finished appealing the violations, which could hold up enforcement for months or years.

The National Mining Association had argued that Brody Mining, a subsidiary of Patriot Coal in West Virginia, would “have to undergo substantial and costly changes to comply with the pattern of violations rule,” according to the opinion written Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore.

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