[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 120, 109th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

120 STAT. 493

Public Law 109-236
109th Congress

An Act


 
To amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to improve the
safety of mines and mining.  NOTE: June 15, 2006 -  [S. 2803]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress  NOTE: Mine Improvement and New
Emergency Response Act of 2006. 30 USC 801 note.  assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Mine Improvement and New Emergency
Response Act of 2006'' or the ``MINER Act''.

SEC. 2. EMERGENCY RESPONSE.

Section 316 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30
U.S.C. 876) is amended--
(1) in the section heading by adding at the end the
following: ``and emergency response plans'';
(2) by striking ``Telephone'' and inserting ``(a) In
General.--Telephone''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:

``(b) Accident Preparedness and Response.--
``(1) In general.--Each underground coal mine operator shall
carry out on a continuing basis a program to improve accident
preparedness and response at each mine.
``(2) Response and preparedness plan.--
``(A)  NOTE: Deadline.  In general.--Not later
than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Mine
Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, each
underground coal mine operator shall develop and adopt a
written accident response plan that complies with this
subsection with respect to each mine of the operator,
and periodically update such plans to reflect changes in
operations in the mine, advances in technology, or other
relevant considerations. Each such operator shall make
the accident response plan available to the miners and
the miners' representatives.
``(B) Plan requirements.--An accident response plan
under subparagraph (A) shall--
``(i) provide for the evacuation of all
individuals endangered by an emergency; and
``(ii) provide for the maintenance of
individuals trapped underground in the event that
miners are not able to evacuate the mine.
``(C) Plan approval.--The accident response plan
under subparagraph (A) shall be subject to review and
approval by the Secretary. In determining whether to
approve a particular plan the Secretary shall take into

[[Page 494]]
120 STAT. 494

consideration all comments submitted by miners or their
representatives. Approved plans shall--
``(i) afford miners a level of safety
protection at least consistent with the existing
standards, including standards mandated by law and
regulation;
``(ii) reflect the most recent credible
scientific research;
``(iii) be technologically feasible, make use
of current commercially available technology, and
account for the specific physical characteristics
of the mine; and
``(iv) reflect the improvements in mine safety
gained from experience under this Act and other
worker safety and health laws.
``(D) Plan review.--The accident response plan under
subparagraph (A) shall be reviewed periodically, but at
least every 6 months, by the Secretary. In such periodic
reviews, the Secretary shall consider all comments
submitted by miners or miners' representatives and
intervening advancements in science and technology that
could be implemented to enhance miners' ability to
evacuate or otherwise survive in an emergency.
``(E) Plan content-general requirements.--To be
approved under subparagraph (C), an accident response
plan shall include the following:
``(i) Post-accident communications.--The plan
shall provide for a redundant means of
communication with the surface for persons
underground, such as secondary telephone or
equivalent two-way communication.
``(ii) Post-accident tracking.--Consistent
with commercially available technology and with
the physical constraints, if any, of the mine, the
plan shall provide for above ground personnel to
determine the current, or immediately pre-
accident, location of all underground personnel.
Any system so utilized shall be functional,
reliable, and calculated to remain serviceable in
a post-accident setting.
``(iii) Post-accident breathable air.--The
plan shall provide for--
``(I) emergency supplies of
breathable air for individuals trapped
underground sufficient to maintain such
individuals for a sustained period of
time;
``(II) in addition to the 2 hours of
breathable air per miner required by law
under the emergency temporary standard
as of the day before the date of
enactment of the Mine Improvement and
New Emergency Response Act of 2006,
caches of self-rescuers providing in the
aggregate not less than 2 hours per
miner to be kept in escapeways from the
deepest work area to the surface at a
distance of no further than an average
miner could walk in 30 minutes;

[[Page 495]]
120 STAT. 495

``(III) a maintenance schedule for
checking the reliability of self
rescuers, retiring older self-rescuers
first, and introducing new self-rescuer
technology, such as units with
interchangeable air or oxygen cylinders
not requiring doffing to replenish
airflow and units with supplies of
greater than 60 minutes, as they are
approved by the Administration and
become available on the market; and
``(IV) training for each miner in
proper procedures for donning self-
rescuers, switching from one unit to
another, and ensuring a proper fit.
``(iv) Post-accident lifelines.--The plan
shall provide for the use of flame-resistant
directional lifelines or equivalent systems in
escapeways to enable
evacuation.  NOTE: Applicability.  The flame-
resistance requirement of this clause shall apply
upon the replacement of existing lifelines, or, in
the case of lifelines in working sections, upon
the earlier of the replacement of such lifelines
or 3 years after the date of enactment of the Mine
Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of
2006.
``(v) Training.--The plan shall provide a
training program for emergency procedures
described in the plan which will not diminish the
requirements for mandatory health and safety
training currently required under section 115.
``(vi) Local coordination.--The plan shall set
out procedures for coordination and communication
between the operator, mine rescue teams, and local
emergency response personnel and make provisions
for familiarizing local rescue personnel with
surface functions that may be required in the
course of mine rescue work.
``(F) Plan content-specific requirements.--
``(i) In general.--In addition to the content
requirements contained in subparagraph (E), and
subject to the considerations contained in
subparagraph (C), the Secretary may make
additional plan requirements with respect to any
of the content matters.
``(ii)  NOTE: Deadline.  Post accident
communications.--Not later than 3 years after the
date of enactment of the Mine Improvement and New
Emergency Response Act of 2006, a plan shall, to
be approved, provide for post accident
communication between underground and surface
personnel via a wireless two-way medium, and
provide for an electronic tracking system
permitting surface personnel to determine the
location of any persons trapped underground or set
forth within the plan the reasons such provisions
can not be adopted. Where such plan sets forth the
reasons such provisions can not be adopted, the
plan shall also set forth the operator's
alternative means of compliance. Such alternative
shall approximate, as closely as possible, the
degree of functional utility and safety protection
provided by the wireless two-way medium and
tracking system referred to in this subpart.
``(G) Plan dispute resolution.--

[[Page 496]]
120 STAT. 496

``(i) In general.--Any dispute between the
Secretary and an operator with respect to the
content of the operator's plan or any refusal by
the Secretary to approve such a plan shall be
resolved on an expedited basis.

``(ii)  NOTE: Citation. Deadlines.  Disputes.--
In the event of a dispute or refusal described in
clause (i), the Secretary shall issue a citation
which shall be immediately referred to a
Commission Administrative Law Judge. The Secretary
and the operator shall submit all relevant
material regarding the dispute to the
Administrative Law Judge within 15 days of the
date of the referral. The Administrative Law Judge
shall render his or her decision with respect to
the plan content dispute within 15 days of the
receipt of the submission.
``(iii) Further appeals.--A party adversely
affected by a decision under clause (ii) may
pursue all further available appeal rights with
respect to the citation involved, except that
inclusion of the disputed provision in the plan
will not be limited by such appeal unless such
relief is requested by the operator and permitted
by the Administrative Law Judge.
``(H) Maintaining protections for miners.--
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, nothing
in this section, and no response and preparedness plan
developed under this section, shall be approved if it
reduces the protection afforded miners by an existing
mandatory health or safety standard.''.

SEC. 3. INCIDENT COMMAND AND CONTROL.

Title I of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C.
811 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 116.  NOTE: 30 USC 826.  LIMITATION ON CERTAIN LIABILITY FOR
RESCUE OPERATIONS.

``(a) In General.--No person shall bring an action against any
covered individual or his or her regular employer for property damage or
an injury (or death) sustained as a result of carrying out activities
relating to mine accident rescue or recovery operations. This subsection
shall not apply where the action that is alleged to result in the
property damages or injury (or death) was the result of gross
negligence, reckless conduct, or illegal conduct or, where the regular
employer (as such term is used in this Act) is the operator of the mine
at which the rescue activity takes place. Nothing in this section shall
be construed to preempt State workers' compensation laws.
``(b) Covered Individual.--For purposes of subsection (a), the term
`covered individual' means an individual--
``(1) who is a member of a mine rescue team or who is
otherwise a volunteer with respect to a mine accident; and
``(2) who is carrying out activities relating to mine
accident rescue or recovery operations.

``(c) Regular Employer.--For purposes of subsection (a), the term
`regular employer' means the entity that is the covered employee's legal
or statutory employer pursuant to applicable State law.''.

[[Page 497]]
120 STAT. 497

SEC. 4. MINE RESCUE TEAMS.

Section 115(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30
U.S.C. 825(e)) is amended--
(1) by inserting ``(1)'' after the subsection designation;
and
(2) by adding at the end the following:

``(2)(A)  NOTE: Regulations. Deadline.  The Secretary shall issue
regulations with regard to mine rescue teams which shall be finalized
and in effect not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of
the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006.

``(B) Such regulations shall provide for the following:
``(i) That such regulations shall not be construed to waive
operator training requirements applicable to existing mine
rescue teams.
``(ii)  NOTE: Certification.  That the Mine Safety and
Health Administration shall establish, and update every 5 years
thereafter, criteria to certify the qualifications of mine
rescue teams.
``(iii)(I) That the operator of each underground coal mine
with more than 36 employees--
``(aa) have an employee knowledgeable in mine
emergency response who is employed at the mine on each
shift at each underground mine; and
``(bb) make available two certified mine rescue
teams whose members--
``(AA) are familiar with the operations of
such coal mine;
``(BB) participate at least annually in two
local mine rescue contests;
``(CC) participate at least annually in mine
rescue training at the underground coal mine
covered by the mine rescue team; and
``(DD) are available at the mine within one
hour ground travel time from the mine rescue
station.
``(II)(aa) For the purpose of complying with subclause (I),
an operator shall employ one team that is either an individual
mine site mine rescue team or a composite team as provided for
in item (bb)(BB).
``(bb) The following options may be used by an operator to
comply with the requirements of item (aa):
``(AA) An individual mine-site mine rescue team.
``(BB) A multi-employer composite team that is made
up of team members who are knowledgeable about the
operations and ventilation of the covered mines and who
train on a semi-annual basis at the covered underground
coal mine--
``(aaa) which provides coverage for multiple
operators that have team members which include at
least two active employees from each of the
covered mines;
``(bbb) which provides coverage for multiple
mines owned by the same operator which members
include at least two active employees from each
mine; or
``(ccc) which is a State-sponsored mine rescue
team comprised of at least two active employees
from each of the covered mines.
``(CC) A commercial mine rescue team provided by
contract through a third-party vendor or mine rescue
team provided by another coal company, if such team--

[[Page 498]]
120 STAT. 498

``(aaa) trains on a quarterly basis at covered
underground coal mines;
``(bbb) is knowledgeable about the operations
and ventilation of the covered mines; and
``(ccc) is comprised of individuals with a
minimum of 3 years underground coal mine
experience that shall have occurred within the 10-
year period preceding their employment on the
contract mine rescue team.
``(DD) A State-sponsored team made up of State
employees.
``(iv) That the operator of each underground coal mine with
36 or less employees shall--
``(I) have an employee on each shift who is
knowledgeable in mine emergency responses; and
``(II) make available two certified mine rescue
teams whose members--
``(aa) are familiar with the operations of
such coal mine;
``(bb) participate at least annually in two
local mine rescue contests;
``(cc) participate at least semi-annually in
mine rescue training at the underground coal mine
covered by the mine rescue team;
``(dd) are available at the mine within one
hour ground travel time from the mine rescue
station;
``(ee) are knowledgeable about the operations
and ventilation of the covered mines; and
``(ff) are comprised of individuals with a
minimum of 3 years underground coal mine
experience that shall have occurred within the 10-
year period preceding their employment on the
contract mine rescue team.''.

SEC. 5. PROMPT INCIDENT NOTIFICATION.

(a) In General.--Section 103(j) of the Federal Mine Safety and
Health Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 813(j)) is amended by inserting after the
first sentence the following: ``For purposes of the preceding sentence,
the notification required shall be provided by the operator within 15
minutes of the time at which the operator realizes that the death of an
individual at the mine, or an injury or entrapment of an individual at
the mine which has a reasonable potential to cause death, has
occurred.''.
(b) Penalty.--Section 110(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health
Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 820(a)) is amended--
(1) by striking ``The operator'' and inserting ``(1) The
operator''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:

``(2) The operator of a coal or other mine who fails to provide
timely notification to the Secretary as required under section 103(j)
(relating to the 15 minute requirement) shall be assessed a civil
penalty by the Secretary of not less than $5,000 and not more than
$60,000.''.

SEC. 6. NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH.

(a) Grants.--Section 22 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of
1970 (29 U.S.C. 671) is amended by adding at the end the following:
``(h) Office of Mine Safety and Health.--

[[Page 499]]
120 STAT. 499

``(1)  NOTE: Establishment.  In general.--There shall be
permanently established within the Institute an Office of Mine
Safety and Health which shall be administered by an Associate
Director to be appointed by the Director.
``(2) Purpose.--The purpose of the Office is to enhance the
development of new mine safety technology and technological
applications and to expedite the commercial availability and
implementation of such technology in mining environments.
``(3) Functions.--In addition to all purposes and
authorities provided for under this section, the Office of Mine
Safety and Health shall be responsible for research,
development, and testing of new technologies and equipment
designed to enhance mine safety and health. To carry out such
functions the Director of the Institute, acting through the
Office, shall have the authority to--
``(A) award competitive grants to institutions and
private entities to encourage the development and
manufacture of mine safety equipment;
``(B) award contracts to educational institutions or
private laboratories for the performance of product
testing or related work with respect to new mine
technology and equipment; and
``(C) establish an interagency working group as
provided for in paragraph (5).
``(4) Grant authority.--To be eligible to receive a grant
under the authority provided for under paragraph (3)(A), an
entity or institution shall--
``(A) submit to the Director of the Institute an
application at such time, in such manner, and containing
such information as the Director may require; and
``(B) include in the application under subparagraph
(A), a description of the mine safety equipment to be
developed and manufactured under the grant and a
description of the reasons that such equipment would
otherwise not be developed or manufactured, including
reasons relating to the limited potential commercial
market for such equipment.
``(5) Interagency working group.--
``(A) Establishment.--The Director of the Institute,
in carrying out paragraph (3)(D) shall establish an
interagency working group to share technology and
technological research and developments that could be
utilized to enhance mine safety and accident response.
``(B) Membership.--The working group under
subparagraph (A) shall be chaired by the Associate
Director of the Office who shall appoint the members of
the working group, which may include representatives of
other Federal agencies or departments as determined
appropriate by the Associate Director.
``(C) Duties.--The working group under subparagraph
(A) shall conduct an evaluation of research conducted
by, and the technological developments of, agencies and
departments who are represented on the working group
that may have applicability to mine safety and accident
response and make recommendations to the Director for
the further development and eventual implementation of
such technology.

[[Page 500]]
120 STAT. 500

``(6) Annual report.--Not later than 1 year after the
establishment of the Office under this subsection, and annually
thereafter, the Director of the Institute shall submit to the
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the
Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the
House of Representatives a report that, with respect to the year
involved, describes the new mine safety technologies and
equipment that have been studied, tested, and certified for use,
and with respect to those instances of technologies and
equipment that have been considered but not yet certified for
use, the reasons therefore.
``(7) Authorization of appropriations.--There is authorized
to be appropriated, such sums as may be necessary to enable the
Institute and the Office of Mine Safety and Health to carry out
this subsection.''.

SEC. 7.  NOTE: 30 USC 801 note.  REQUIREMENT CONCERNING FAMILY
LIAISONS.

The Secretary of Labor shall establish a policy that--
(1) requires the temporary assignment of an individual
Department of Labor official to be a liaison between the
Department and the families of victims of mine tragedies
involving multiple deaths;
(2) requires the Mine Safety and Health Administration to be
as responsive as possible to requests from the families of mine
accident victims for information relating to mine accidents; and
(3) requires that in such accidents, that the Mine Safety
and Health Administration shall serve as the primary
communicator with the operator, miners' families, the press and
the public.

SEC. 8. PENALTIES.

(a) In General.--Section 110 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health
Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 820) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)--
(A) by inserting ``(1)'' after the subsection
designation; and
(B) by adding at the end the following:

``(2) Any operator who willfully violates a mandatory health or
safety standard, or knowingly violates or fails or refuses to comply
with any order issued under section 104 and section 107, or any order
incorporated in a final decision issued under this title, except an
order incorporated in a decision under paragraph (1) or section 105(c),
shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $250,000,
or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both, except that
if the conviction is for a violation committed after the first
conviction of such operator under this Act, punishment shall be by a
fine of not more than $500,000, or by imprisonment for not more than
five years, or both.
``(3)(A) The minimum penalty for any citation or order issued under
section 104(d)(1) shall be $2,000.
``(B) The minimum penalty for any order issued under section
104(d)(2) shall be $4,000.
``(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent an
operator from obtaining a review, in accordance with section 106, of an
order imposing a penalty described in this subsection.
If  NOTE: Courts.  a court, in making such review, sustains the order,
the court

[[Page 501]]
120 STAT. 501

shall apply at least the minimum penalties required under this
subsection.''; and
(2) by adding at the end of subsection (b) the following:
``Violations under this section that are deemed to be flagrant
may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $220,000. For
purposes of the preceding sentence, the term `flagrant' with
respect to a violation means a reckless or repeated failure to
make reasonable efforts to eliminate a known violation of a
mandatory health or safety standard that substantially and
proximately caused, or reasonably could have been expected to
cause, death or serious bodily injury.''.

(b)  NOTE: Deadline. 30 USC 820 note.  Regulations.--Not later
than December 30, 2006, the Secretary of Labor shall promulgate final
regulations with respect to penalties.

SEC. 9. FINE COLLECTIONS.

Section 108(a)(1)(A) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of
1977 (30 U.S.C. 818(a)(1)(A)) is amended by inserting before the comma,
the following: ``, or fails or refuses to comply with any order or
decision, including a civil penalty assessment order, that is issued
under this Act''.

SEC. 10.  NOTE: Deadline. Standards. Sago Mine. 30 USC 811
note.  SEALING OF ABANDONED AREAS.

Not later than 18 months after the issuance by the Mine Safety and
Health Administration of a final report on the Sago Mine accident or the
date of enactment of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act
of 2006, whichever occurs earlier, the Secretary of Labor shall finalize
mandatory heath and safety standards relating to the sealing of
abandoned areas in underground coal mines. Such health and safety
standards shall provide for an increase in the 20 psi standard currently
set forth in section 75.335(a)(2) of title 30, Code of Federal
Regulations.

SEC. 11. TECHNICAL STUDY PANEL.

Title V of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C.
951 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 514.  NOTE: 30 USC 963.  TECHNICAL STUDY PANEL.

``(a) Establishment.--There is established a Technical Study Panel
(referred to in this section as the `Panel') which shall provide
independent scientific and engineering review and recommendations with
respect to the utilization of belt air and the composition and fire
retardant properties of belt materials in underground coal mining.
``(b) Membership.--The Panel shall be composed of--
``(1) two individuals to be appointed by the Secretary of
Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Director of
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and
the Associate Director of the Office of Mine Safety;
``(2) two individuals to be appointed by the Secretary of
Labor, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Mine
Safety and Health; and
``(3) two individuals, one to be appointed jointly by the
majority leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives and
one to be appointed jointly by the minority leader of the Senate
and House of Representatives, each to be appointed

[[Page 502]]
120 STAT. 502

prior to the sine die adjournment of the second session of the
109th Congress.

``(c) Qualifications.--Four of the six individuals appointed to the
Panel under subsection (b) shall possess a masters or doctoral level
degree in mining engineering or another scientific field demonstrably
related to the subject of the report. No individual appointed to the
Panel shall be an employee of any coal or other mine, or of any labor
organization, or of any State or Federal agency primarily responsible
for regulating the mining industry.
``(d) Report.--
``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date on
which all members of the Panel are appointed under subsection
(b), the Panel shall prepare and submit to the Secretary of
Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Committee
on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, and the
Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of
Representatives a report concerning the utilization of belt air
and the composition and fire retardant properties of belt
materials in underground coal mining.
``(2) Response by secretary.--Not later than 180 days after
the receipt of the report under paragraph (1), the Secretary of
Labor shall provide a response to the Committee on Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee
on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives
containing a description of the actions, if any, that the
Secretary intends to take based upon the report, including
proposing regulatory changes, and the reasons for such actions.

``(e) Compensation.--Members appointed to the Panel, while carrying
out the duties of the Panel shall be entitled to receive compensation,
per diem in lieu of subsistence, and travel expenses in the same manner
and under the same conditions as that prescribed under section 208(c) of
the Public Health Service Act.''.

SEC. 12. SCHOLARSHIPS.

Title V of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C.
951 et seq.), as amended by section 11, is further amended by adding at
the end the following:

``SEC. 515.  NOTE: 30 USC 964.  SCHOLARSHIPS.

``(a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Education (referred to in
this section as the `Secretary'), in consultation with the Secretary of
Labor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a
program to provide scholarships to eligible individuals to increase the
skilled workforce for both private sector coal mine operators and mine
safety inspectors and other regulatory personnel for the Mine Safety and
Health Administration.
``(b) Fundamental Skills Scholarships.--
``(1) In general.--Under the program under subsection (a),
the Secretary may award scholarship to fully or partially pay
the tuition costs of eligible individuals enrolled in 2-year
associate's degree programs at community colleges or other
colleges and universities that focus on providing the
fundamental skills and training that is of immediate use to a
beginning coal miner.
``(2) Skills.--The skills described in paragraph (1) shall
include basic math, basic health and safety, business
principles, management and supervisory skills, skills related to
electric

[[Page 503]]
120 STAT. 503

circuitry, skills related to heavy equipment operations, and
skills related to communications.
``(3) Eligibility.--To be eligible to receive a scholarship
under this subsection an individual shall--
``(A) have a high school diploma or a GED;
``(B) have at least 2 years experience in full-time
employment in mining or mining-related activities;
``(C) submit to the Secretary an application at such
time, in such manner, and containing such information;
and
``(D) demonstrate an interest in working in the
field of mining and performing an internship with the
Mine Safety and Health Administration or the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Office of
Mine Safety.

``(c) Mine Safety Inspector Scholarships.--
``(1) In general.--Under the program under subsection (a),
the Secretary may award scholarship to fully or partially pay
the tuition costs of eligible individuals enrolled in
undergraduate bachelor's degree programs at accredited colleges
or universities that provide the skills needed to become mine
safety inspectors.
``(2) Skills.--The skills described in paragraph (1) include
skills developed through programs leading to a degree in mining
engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering,
electrical engineering, industrial engineering, environmental
engineering, industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety,
geology, chemistry, or other fields of study related to mine
safety and health work.
``(3) Eligibility.--To be eligible to receive a scholarship
under this subsection an individual shall--
``(A) have a high school diploma or a GED;
``(B) have at least 5 years experience in full-time
employment in mining or mining-related activities;
``(C) submit to the Secretary an application at such
time, in such manner, and containing such information;
and
``(D) agree to be employed for a period of at least
5 years at the Mine Safety and Health Administration or,
to repay, on a pro-rated basis, the funds received under
this program, plus interest, at a rate established by
the Secretary upon the issuance of the scholarship.

``(d) Advanced Research Scholarships.--
``(1) In general.--Under the program under subsection (a),
the Secretary may award scholarships to fully or partially pay
the tuition costs of eligible individuals enrolled in
undergraduate bachelor's degree, masters degree, and Ph.D.
degree programs at accredited colleges or universities that
provide the skills needed to augment and advance research in
mine safety and to broaden, improve, and expand the universe of
candidates for mine safety inspector and other regulatory
positions in the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
``(2) Skills.--The skills described in paragraph (1) include
skills developed through programs leading to a degree in mining
engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering,
electrical engineering, industrial engineering, environmental
engineering, industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety,

[[Page 504]]
120 STAT. 504

geology, chemistry, or other fields of study related to mine
safety and health work.
``(3) Eligibility.--To be eligible to receive a scholarship
under this subsection an individual shall--
``(A) have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an
accredited 4-year institution;
``(B) have at least 5 years experience in full-time
employment in underground mining or mining-related
activities; and
``(C) submit to the Secretary an application at such
time, in such manner, and containing such information.

``(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.''.

SEC. 13. RESEARCH CONCERNING REFUGE ALTERNATIVES.

(a) In General.--The National Institute of Occupational Safety and
Health shall provide for the conduct of research, including field tests,
concerning the utility, practicality, survivability, and cost of various
refuge alternatives in an underground coal mine environment, including
commercially-available portable refuge chambers.
(b) Report.--
(1) In general.--Not later than 18 months after the date of
enactment of this Act, the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health shall prepare and submit to the Secretary of
Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Committee
on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, and the
Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of
Representatives a report concerning the results of the research
conducted under subsection (a), including any field tests.
(2) Response by secretary.--Not later than 180 days after
the receipt of the report under paragraph (1), the Secretary of
Labor shall provide a response to the Committee on Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee
on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives
containing a description of the actions, if any, that the
Secretary intends to take based upon the report, including
proposing regulatory changes, and the reasons for such actions.

SEC. 14.  NOTE: 30 USC 965.  BROOKWOOD-SAGO MINE SAFETY GRANTS.

(a) In General.--The Secretary of Labor shall establish a program to
award competitive grants for education and training, to be known as
Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants, to carry out the purposes of this
section.
(b) Purposes.--It is the purpose of this section, to provide for the
funding of education and training programs to better identify, avoid,
and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around mines.
(c) Eligibility.--To be eligible to receive a grant under this
section, an entity shall--
(1) be a public or private nonprofit entity; and
(2) submit to the Secretary of Labor an application at such
time, in such manner, and containing such information as the
Secretary may require.

[[Page 505]]
120 STAT. 505

(d) Use of Funds.--Amounts received under a grant under this section
shall be used to establish and implement education and training
programs, or to develop training materials for employers and miners,
concerning safety and health topics in mines, as determined appropriate
by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
(e) Awarding of Grants.--
(1) Annual basis.--Grants under this section shall be
awarded on an annual basis.
(2) Special emphasis.--In awarding grants under this
section, the Secretary of Labor shall give special emphasis to
programs and materials that target workers in smaller mines,
including training miners and employers about new Mine Safety
and Health Administration standards, high risk activities, or
hazards identified by such Administration.
(3) Priority.--In awarding grants under this section, the
Secretary of Labor shall give priority to the funding of pilot
and demonstration projects that the Secretary determines will
provide opportunities for broad applicability for mine safety.

(f) Evaluation.--The Secretary of Labor shall use not less than 1
percent of the funds made available to carry out this section in a
fiscal year to conduct evaluations of the projects funded under grants
under this section.
(g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be
appropriated for each fiscal year, such sums as may be necessary to
carry out this section.

Approved June 15, 2006.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2803:
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SENATE REPORTS: No. 109-365 (Comm. on Health, Education, Labor,
and Penions).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 152 (2006):
May 24, considered and passed Senate.
June 7, considered and passed House.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 42 (2006):
June 15, Presidential remarks.