11.06.07

ENZI URGES INNOVATION, COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH TO DEVELOP CRITICAL MINE SAFETY TECHNOLOGY

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), today metwith Dr. Jeffrey Kohler, Associate Director for Mine Safety and Health at the NationalInstitute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to discuss developments in minesafety technology, and said he is pleased with the progress that is being made inimproving communications and tracking systems. “We have to harness the power of American innovation to ensure that all mineshave state of the art communication and tracking systems,” Enzi said. “Following theenactment of the MINER Act last year, there has been a great deal of progress indeveloping good two-way communications systems, and we are now looking atprototypes of technology with capabilities we never thought was possible years ago.”Enzi was also briefed on the progress of developing the next generation ofbreathable air equipment that miners can carry on their belts, which he said is critical tosustain miners awaiting rescues after an accident. “We must strongly support the fine research professionals and institutions that areworking to improve mine safety technology,” Enzi said. “We must make sure that thegovernment, academia and private industry work together, pooling their knowledge andabilities, so that we get the technology we need, sooner. Right now, thanks to theMINER Act, NIOSH has awarded 7 research contracts to outside partners oncommunications and tracking alone. The result has been a truly collaborative researchand development environment. “Our role is to be sure nothing stands in the way of continued collaboration andinnovation. In the end, we will have readily available technology that saves miners livesand makes them feel safer. That is our goal.” ####

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