Petition - Docket No. M-1998-082-C

In the matter of
Old Dominion Energy, Inc.
Mine No. 5
l.D. No. 44-06890
Docket No. M-1998-082-C
30 CFR 75.1710-l(a)


On September 10, 1998, a petition was filed seeking a modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.1710-l(a) to Petitioner's Mine No. 5, located in Wise County, Virginia. The Petitioner alleges that application of this standard will result in a diminution of safety to the miners.

Petitioner requested that the mine be allowed to operate electric mobile equipment without canopies in seam heights up to 50 inches because the pitch and undulations of the seam cause the canopies of the equipment to strike the roof bolts and/or plates (which decreases the competency of the support). Also, petitioner alleges that visibility is impaired by the canopies creating a hazard to persons crawling or traveling on foot. The petition did not specify the type, manufacturer or model of the equipment in use at the mine.

The petitioner also noted that a similar petition was granted to Clinchfield Coal Company under Docket No. M- 93-157-C.

MSHA's investigation concluded that the application of the standard did not result in a diminution of safety to the miners. The mine had installed and used the cabs and canopies in mining heights over 42 inches, but removed them when lower mining heights were encountered. The mining height was frequently below 42 inches. MSHA's Technical Support Branch evaluated the electric face equipment pieces in use at the mine.

Both investigations determined that alternative models of the electric face equipment or modifications to the existing models provided for safe application of the standard. These findings were discussed with the petitioner. However, before a Proposed Decision and Order denying the requested modification was issued, the mine's reserves were exhausted. On May 30, 2001, MSHA learned that all electric face equipment had been removed from the mine. The No. 5 Mine has been placed in active, non-producing status until the coal conveyor system and other salvageable items have been recovered at which time the mine will be permanently abandoned.

Therefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, Old Dominion Energy, Inc.'s Petition for Modification of 30 CFR 75.1710 to its Mine No. 5 is dismissed.

Any party to this action desiring a hearing on this matter must file in accordance with 30 CFR 44 within 30 days. The request for hearing must be filed with the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

If a hearing is requested, the request shall contain a concise summary of position on the issues of fact or law desired to be raised by the party requesting the hearing, including specific objections to the proposed decision. A party other than Petitioner who has requested a hearing shall also comment upon all issues of fact or law presented in the petition, and any party to this action requesting a hearing may indicate a desired hearing site. If no request for a hearing is filed within 30 days after service thereof, the Order of Dismissal will become final.


Terry L. Bentley
Acting Chief, Division of Safety Coal Mine Safety and Health