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Petition - Docket No. M-1999-015-C

In the matter of

Perry County Mining Company Eas #1 Mine

I.D. No. 15-02085

Petition for Modification Docket No. M-1999-015-C

 

PROPOSED DECISION AND ORDER

 

On March 12, 1999, a petition was filed seeking a modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.388(a)(3) to Petitioner's Eas #1 Mine, located in Perry County, Kentucky. The Petitioner alleges that the alternative method outlined in the petition will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the standard.

 

Although not specifically stated in the petition, it appears that as an alternative method petitioner intends to establish a 100-foot barrier line in lieu of a 200-foot barrier around two adjacent mines. Both adjacent mines have been permanently abandoned and sealed, making it impossible to conduct preshift examinations when the advancing works of the active mine approach within 200 feet. Petitioner intends to rely on the accuracy of the mine surveys and maps to provide the same measure of protection as the standard by drilling ahead within 100 feet of an adjacent mine, instead of drilling ahead with 200 feet of an adjacent mine.

 

MSHA personnel conducted an investigation of the petition and filed a report of their findings and recommendations with the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and MSHA's investigative report and recommendation, this Proposed Decision and Order is issued.

 

Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law

 

Section 75.388(a)(3) requires that boreholes be drilled in each advancing working place when the working place approaches to within 200 feet of any mine workings of an adjacent mine located in the same coal bed unless the mine workings have been preshift examined.

 

The alternative method proposed by the Petitioner will not at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under 30 CFR 75.388(a)(3). MSHA's investigation report does not question the accuracy of the surveys or maps of the petitioner's mines. However, the report indicates that it is common for surveys not to include the farthest extent of mine workings. This is because retreat mining frequently extends the workings beyond the boundaries shown on the map. In addition, a review of the mine map indicates that the pitch of the coal seam and elevations increases the likelihood of inundations of the active workings from water, or other contaminants which are heavier than air, should an unintentional cut-through occur. The investigation report indicates that this mine experienced at least one unintentional cut-through which resulted in inundation of the active working section with methane. Finally, the report indicates that there is a high probability of significant accumulations of both water and methane in the sealed areas.

 

On the basis of the petition and the findings of MSHA's investigation, Perry County Coal Company and its subsidiary, Perry County Mining Company are not granted a modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.388(a)(3) to its Eas #1 Mine.

 

ORDER

 

Wherefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, and pursuant to Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30

U.S.C., sec. 811(c), it is ordered that Perry County Coal Corporation's and Perry County Mining Company's Petition for Modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.388(a)(3) in the Eas #1 Mine is hereby:

 

DENIED.

 

Any party to this action desiring a hearing on this matter must file in accordance with 30 CFR 44.14, 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 Decision and Order will become final and must be posted by the operator on the mine bulletin board at the mine.

 

 

 

 

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Michael J. Lawless

Deputy Administrator

for Coal Mine Safety and Health