Senate Budget Would Cut State Mining Inspections

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky's mine inspectors would be required to spend less time examining coal operations under language inserted in the state Senate's budget proposal. Mine-safety advocates say fewer inspections would raise the risks for miners.

State law requires that each mine be inspected six times yearly by state regulators.

That number would be pared to a required two annual inspections under the Senate's plan.

The Senate also voted for deeper spending cuts for the state's mine safety and licensing office than the House approved.

House and Senate budget conferees began work Wednesday toward reaching an accord on a new two-year spending plan.

Senate President Robert Stivers says state regulators could still step up visits to mines with safety concerns.

But United Mine Workers international vice president Steve Earle says the cutback will put miners' lives in danger.

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