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Mine Safety Advocates Worried about Loss of Money for Inspections

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A slash to Governor Steve Beshear’s proposal for mine safety in the Kentucky House budget bill passed this month has many safety advocates concerned. They say there might not be enough money to conduct required inspections.

Gov. Beshear has proposed $7.6 million in each of the next two years for the state program that inspects and licenses coal mines. But when the budget bill was passed by the House, Beshear’s budget office noticed the number had been reduced to $5.3 million per year.

The Courier-Journal reports the 15 percent reduction was not discussed during the budget committee meeting or floor session when the bill was passed. In response, Gov. Beshear says his administration is “very concerned about the lack of sufficient funds to ensure safety” for miners, and the House and Senate will work together to ensure the funding is there “to cover critical needs in the agency.”

Representative John Will Stacy, who chairs a budget subcommittee, said it wasn’t a question of whether mine safety needed the money, but the money is needed elsewhere as well and they simply had to tighten their belts.

Some mine safety advocates say Beshear knew that when he made his original proposal, and the budget shouldn’t have been cut any more than that.

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