Congressman Hal Rogers says, after a brief delay, the House of Representatives is expcted to consider mine-safety reform legislation this week.

The legislation comes in the wake of of a mining accident near Harlan which killed four Kentucky miners.

“It is absolutely essential that we give our miners the protections they need and so rightly deserve,” Rogers said, pledging his support for the legislation.

On May 24, the U.S. Senate passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act). Rogers and a bi-partisan group of coal-state members in the House pushed for immediate passage of the legislation.

However, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) used procedural motions to prevent the MINER Act from moving forward.

“The tragic accident in Harlan County made everyone realize that we need to get new mine-safety provisions in place and we need to do so quickly,” said Rogers. “This legislation provides critical protections for our miners and strengthens the federal government's ability to enforce safety regulations.

“With support from both labor and industry organizations, we have got to take advantage of this opportunity,” Rogers added. “I strongly support the MINER Act and encourage all of my colleagues in the House to do the same.”

Rogers praised the efforts of Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to bring the issue up for a vote this week.

“Majority Leader Boehner understands the issues facing our brave coal miners,” said Rogers. “I appreciate his determined efforts to quickly bring this legislation up for a vote so we can get much-needed mining reforms in place.”

Key provisions of the MINER Act include:

• Requires each miner to have a minimum two hour supply of oxygen and requires storage of additional breathing devices on escape routes.

• Requires mining companies to install wireless two-way communications and an electronic tracking system that would enable trapped miners underground to be located.

• Requires each mine to have two experienced rescue teams capable of a one hour response time.

• Gives the federal government the power to shut down a mine that refuses to pay a final order penalty.

• Requires each mine to develop and continuously review its emergency response plan. The plan must be re-certified every six months.

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