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Mine Safety Bill Stalled

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A rule that could toughen rules on methane gas levels in West Virginia coal mines remains stalled.

The State Journal says Tuesday's meeting of the state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety failed to reach a quorum because three members were out of town.

The United Mine Workers of America says the representatives were in St. Louis for a protest related to the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal.

But board administrator Joel Watts says work on the new rule may not have been finished even if they'd been present.

Federal rules require mining equipment to shut down at methane concentrations of 2 percent or more. Proposed state regulations would cut that to 1.25 percent if the levels are sustained.

But Watts says the definition of "sustained" remains in discussion.

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