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Virginia launches 1st state-operated mine rescue team

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BIG STONE GAP, Va. (AP) - Virginia has created its first state-operated mine rescue team.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy said in a statement Friday the team will serve as backup emergency responders for company mine rescue teams. DMME Director John Warren says team members include experienced mine inspectors, emergency managers and other specialists.

Federal rules require rescue teams at mining sites.

Besides coal mines in southwest Virginia, the team will be available for mineral mine accidents as well.

The department says the mine rescue team is funded through a $228,000 grant from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

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