CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mines in West Virginia may be required to install barometers to catch the danger of explosive gas as one response to the nation's worst coal mining disaster in 40 years.
The state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety voted Wednesday to seek public comments on the possible rule. It would also require daily barometer readings, record keeping and training.
Falling barometric pressure can squeeze methane gas from coal. Officials suspect that both methane and coal dust fueled the April 5 blast at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners and injured two.
The safety panel is also considering new rules to address mine rescue efforts and ventilation of coal conveyer belts. Another being discussed would require mines to calibrate their methane detectors every 14 days.