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DOL/MSHA News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (202) 693-9425

Released Friday, August 15, 2003

MSHA Proposes New Rules On DPM Exposure
Hearings Set for Salt Lake City, St. Louis and Pittsburgh


ARLINGTON, Va.- The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a proposed rule addressing miners' exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground metal and nonmetal mining operations. The agency also announced that public hearings on the proposal will be held in September to allow public comment on the rule. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on August 14.

"It's important that we get meaningful comments on the proposal so that we can craft a final rule that will provide maximum protection for miners yet be responsive to mining industry concerns," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The department's proposal will provide enhanced protection for miners from the effects of diesel particulate matter."

The proposed rule would change the interim diesel particulate matter (DPM) concentration limit to a comparable permissible exposure limit measured differently but considered to be more accurate. The proposal would also, among other actions, implement an enforcement strategy that is currently used at metal and nonmetal underground mines, and allow MSHA to consider economic as well as technological feasibility in determining if mine operators qualify for an extension of time in which to meet the DPM limits. The full text of the proposal can be found on MSHA's web site at www.msha.gov.

MSHA also announced that it will conduct three public hearings to receive comments from the mining community on the proposed rule. Hearings are scheduled for Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sept. 16; St. Louis, Mo., on Sept. 18; and Pittsburgh, Penn., on Sept. 23.

MSHA is asking for comment on the proposed rule. Comments must be clearly identified as such and may be transmitted electronically to zzMSHA-Comments@dol.gov or by fax to 202-693-9441. Written comments may also be addressed to MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va., 22209-3939. The comment period closes Oct. 14, 2003.