- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says he is “very much concerned” about a new state law scaling back coal mine safety regulations.

The Democrat made the comments to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The law trims coal mine safety and environmental standards. Changes range from shielding coal companies from some citizen Clean Water Act lawsuits, to requiring less rail track laid in mines.

It passed the Republican Legislature with some Democratic support. Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed it and urged state mine safety officials to craft new rules about moving equipment underground.

Manchin said West Virginia has endured too many deadly mine accidents “to throw caution to the wind on safety.”

The West Virginia Coal Association pushed the bill. Environmental groups and the United Mine Workers of America opposed it.

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