CHARLESTON, W.Va. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued new rules requiring mine rescue teams to practice more and cut their emergency response times.
The rules issued Friday are designed to improve the odds of rescuing miners after fires, explosions and other accidents at the nation's 700 underground coal mines. They're required by a federal law adopted after a deadly explosion at the Sago Mine and two other high-profile 2006 accidents.
Among other things, the rules cut response times for mine rescue teams in half by requiring teams to be within a one-hour drive of mines they serve. The rules also require teams to practice at least 96 hours a year. That's up from a mandatory 40 hours of annual practice.