Whitesburg KY

Rockefeller calls for mine safety changes


West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller is urging President Barack Obama to make several mine safety improvements immediately.

In a letter dated Sunday, Rockefeller tells Obama he should consider several suggestions made by relatives of the men killed in the explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine. The April 5 blast killed 29 men, the worst loss of life in a U.S. coal mine in 40 years.

Among other things, relatives told a U.S. House panel a week ago that federal inspectors should be accompanied by individual miners and criminal penalties for tampering with methane gas detectors should be increased.

Investigators suspect a combination of methane and coal dust in the Upper Big Branch disaster.

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