Thursday, March 17, 2016

Senate passes bill to end state mine inspections

(AP) — The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill aimed at ending state inspections of coal mines, which would turn those duties entirely over to a federal agency.

Supporters said Thursday the bill would end duplication by state and federal regulators. The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Chris Girdler, said the beleaguered coal industry is suffering from "strangulation by regulation."

Sen. Robin Webb said the state has a legitimate responsibility to inspect mines to ensure safety. In opposing the bill, she said she could not have "the blood" of miners on her hands as a policymaker.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Senate on a 25-11 vote and now goes to the Democratic-led House. The bill would reassign state inspectors to different duties as mine safety analysts.

The legislation is Senate Bill 297.