Board drops ball – again – on Tomblin methane rule

January 29, 2013 by Ken Ward Jr.

Over at the State Journal, Taylor Kuykendall just posted a good follow-up piece to a story we broke two weeks ago in the Gazette. As he explains:

A rule regarding methane levels in West Virginia coal mines is held up at a health and safety board that failed to attract enough members to officially meet on Tuesday.

The West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety was short three members of meeting a quorum – Gary Trout, Theodore Hapney and Carl Egnor. Without enough members, those who did attend the meeting could not perform any official action.

All three missing members represent labor through the United Mine Workers of America. The meeting was scheduled at the same time as a mass protest regarding handling of retiree and other benefits of Patriot Coal, which is in the midst of bankruptcy reorganization.

A UMW spokesman confirmed that Trout, Hapney and Egnor were at the protest today in St. Louis — rather than the mine safety board meeting. Readers may recall that when we first uncovered this situation, the best the governor’s office could do was this prepared statement:

These rules are critical to the safety of all miners and their families. I urge the board to quickly reconvene and make this a priority.

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