Methane Rule Stalls Out

That protest related to Patriot Coal's bankruptcy this week had an impact on a rule on methane in West Virginia mines. Three members of the state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety were in St. Louis for the protest and missed a meeting. The State Journal reports that kept the board from reaching a quorum, and therefore a decision on a rule that could strengthen limits on methane gas levels in coal mines. Board administrator Joel Watts says the rule may have stalled even if they'd been present. Federal rules require mining equipment to shut down at methane concentrations of 2 percent or more. Proposed state regulations would cut that to 1.25 percent if the levels are sustained. There's still come debate of the definition of "sustained" too.