All 254 underground coal mines in West Virginia must rework their plans for providing miners with individual wireless communication and tracking systems, The Associated Press reports this afternoon.
The AP's Tim Huber has scored a letter from state regulators rejecting the mines' plans, after concluding that "the proposals lacked detailed descriptions on how the systems would be developed and used."
Director Ron Wooten of the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has given the coal operators until Sept. 21 to fix their proposed plans or risk citations, AP reports.
But Wooten still hopes to have systems installed statewide by mid-2008. "Some mines have already started," he told AP.
Huber also notes that similar federal requirements don't take effect until June 2009. West Virginia _ home to more than a third of the nation's 670 underground coal mines _ "mandated two-way wireless communications equipment after last year's deadly Sago Mine explosion," the AP article said. "The state has since certified a half dozen systems that are designed to help rescuers pinpoint the location of missing miners and talk with them."