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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 22 A- 2 - 4 A §22A-2-4a. Use of belt air.
(a) Definitions. -- For purposes of this section, "belt air" means the use of a belt conveyor entry as an intake air course to ventilate the working sections of a mine or areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed.

(b) Upon the effective date of the enactment of this section, belt air may not be used to ventilate the working sections of a mine or areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed: Provided, That if an alternative method of ventilation will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of an underground mine by the foregoing or if the application of the foregoing to an underground mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in the mine, the director may approve the interim use of belt air pursuant to the following:

(1) For those operators using belt air pursuant to a ventilation plan approved by the director in accordance with the provisions of section two of this article prior to the effective date of the enactment of this section, the director shall cause an inspection to be made of the mine ventilation system and ventilation equipment. The director may allow the continued use of belt air in that mine if he or she determines that: (i) The use meets the minimum requirements of 30 CFR 75.350(b); and (ii) the use, as set forth in the ventilation plan and as inspected, will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of the mine if belt air were not used, or that the prohibition of the use of belt air in the mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in the mine.

(2) For those operators submitting on or after the effective date of the enactment of this section, a ventilation plan proposing the use of belt air to the director pursuant to section two of this article, the director shall immediately upon receipt of the plan give notice of the plan to the representative of the miners in that mine and cause any investigation to be made that the director considers appropriate: Provided, That the investigation shall include a review of any comments on the plan submitted by the representative of miners in the mine. Upon receiving the report of the investigation, the director shall make findings of fact and issue a written decision, incorporating in the decision his or her findings and an order approving or denying the use of belt air pursuant to the terms of the ventilation plan. To approve the use of belt air pursuant to a ventilation plan, the director shall, at a minimum, determine that: (i) The operator's proposed use of belt air meets the minimum requirements of 30 CFR 75.350(b); and (ii) approval of the proposed use of belt air will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of the mine if belt air were not used, or that the prohibition of the use of belt air in the mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in the mine.

(3) The interim use of belt air shall be accurately reflected in operator's plan of ventilation, as approved by the director in accordance with the provisions of section two of this article.

(c) Upon completion of the independent scientific and engineering review concerning the use of belt air and the composition and fire retardant properties of belt materials in underground coal mining by the technical study panel created pursuant to the provisions of 30 U.S.C. §963 and the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor's corresponding report to Congress pursuant to the review, the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety shall, within thirty days of the Secretary of Labor's report to Congress, provide the Governor with its recommendations, if any, for the enactment, repeal or amendment of any statute or rule which would enhance the safe ventilation of underground mines and the health and safety of miners: Provided, That at least sixty days after the Secretary of Labor's report to Congress, the Board of Coal Mine Health, Safety and Training shall promulgate emergency rules regulating the use of belt air in light of that report: Provided, however, That the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall expire and no longer have any force and effect upon the filing of such emergency rules.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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