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Governor: Utah Will Study Whether to Jump Into Mine Safety

Governor: Utah Will Study Whether to Jump Into Mine Safety

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HUNTINGTON, Utah (AP) -- Gov. Jon Huntsman plans to create a state panel to investigate the Crandall Canyon mine disaster when the crisis ends.

One of the issues: Should Utah get into the business of regulating mine safety? It gave up authority to the federal government decades ago.

"We're going to want to see if there is reason for us to reconsider how this is done," Huntsman said.

Six miners have been trapped since Aug. 6. Three rescuers were killed and six were injured during a cave-in Thursday night.

State Sen. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, a consultant to the mining industry, cautioned that having state and federal regulators overseeing safety could do more harm than good.

"You can't have dual roles. You can't have two bosses looking over your shoulder," said Dmitrich, who supports Huntsman's plan for a state investigation and probably would serve on the panel.

"If something was approved in that mine plan that shouldn't have been, that should be brought out," Dmitrich said. "And if it wasn't, they should be cleared. I just hope we don't overreact."

Huntsman said he is talking to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin about that state's response to the Sago mine disaster. Twelve coal miners died in an explosion in 2006.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the Mine Safety and Health Administration will investigate and Congress should hold hearings, too.

"But for the present time, we need to let the professionals do their job, with our support but without our interference," he said.


Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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