WASHINGTON — Senate hearings on the Crandall Canyon Mine accident and the overall status of mine health and safety initially schedule for Thursday has been postponed, and no new date has been set.

The Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee had planned to hear from Elliot P. Lewis of the Labor Department's Inspector General office, as well as Mine Safety and Health Administration head Richard Stickler and other mine experts.

Lewis authored a report last week saying MSHA was negligent leading up to the collapse at the mine in August that trapped and killed six miner. A second collapse days later killed three rescurers. The Government Accountability Office issued a report Tuesday pointing out that key provisions of a mine safety law have still not been implemented.

Murray Energy Co. head Bob Murray had been invited to testify but Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Ill. and top Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania told him he did not have to appear until MSHA's investigation into the accident was over.

Specter's office said the hearing was postponed because of scheduling conflicts.

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