Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. created a Utah Mine Safety Commission on Thursday, headed by former U.S. Attorney Scott Matheson Jr., to conduct its own investigation of the Crandall Canyon mine tragedy, theSalt Lake Tribunereports.
The disaster has likely taken the lives of six miners and has killed three rescue workers.
The Mine Safety Commission will report back this fall on ways the state can ensure the safety of its miners. That might include expanding the state's role in mine safety inspections, Huntsman said. The state turned inspections and enforcement over to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration in 1977.
The chairman of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees workplace safety Thursday called on the Labor Department to produce extensive documents relating to the Crandall Canyon mine.
Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee has called in MSHA chief Richard Stickler for questioning, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has asked Labor Secretary Elaine Chao for documents related to safety at the Utah mine.
Huntsman said the Utah Mine Safety Commission is similar to a panel appointed by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin after the Sago Mine disaster in 2006 that killed 12.
Utah Governor creates state mine safety commission (8/27)
August 27, 2007