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DOL Press Release - 05-1763-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676


Released Monday, September 19, 2005

MSHA Extends Comment Period of Proposed Rule For Diesel Particulate Matter, Delays Effective Date of Final Limit

ARLINGTON, Va -The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today extended the public comment deadline and changed the public hearing dates for the agency's proposed rule on diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground metal and nonmetal mines. In a separate notice, the agency delayed the effective date of the rule addressing DPM exposure in these mines to May 20, 2006, rather than Jan. 20, 2006.

Published Sept. 7, the proposed DPM rule would phase in a lower permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 160 micrograms of total carbon over a five-year period. The proposed rule also seeks comment on a number of questions, including whether miners should be transferred to an existing job if it is determined that they are medically unable to wear a respirator. The comment period for this proposed rule has been extended to Jan. 27, 2006. Postponing the applicability of the final DPM PEL to May 20, 2006 provides sufficient time to complete work on the Sept. 7 proposed rule.

The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union requested a longer comment period for the proposed rule because Hurricane Katrina affected the union's participation in the rulemaking process. The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association also requested an extension to the comment period.

Public hearings on this proposed rule are now scheduled for these dates: Written comments on these two notices should be submitted by Jan. 27, 2006, to the MSHA Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2350, Arlington, Va. 22209-3939; fax 202-693-9441. Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov, or by e-mail to zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov. MSHA's Web site at www.msha.gov has a hearing schedule and a link to the proposed rule.