Text: H.R.3877 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
Referred in Senate (10/30/2007)
[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3877 Referred in Senate (RFS)]
H. R. 3877
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 30, 2007
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions
To require the Director of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology to establish an initiative to promote the research,
development, and demonstration of miner tracking and communications
systems and to promote the establishment of standards and other
measurement services regarding underground communications to protect
miners in the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Mine Communications Technology
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The failure of miner tracking and communications
devices or lack thereof in mines severely hampers rescue
efforts in the event of emergencies.
(2) Mines, particularly underground mines, have properties
that present unique technical challenges for the integration of
currently available tracking and communications systems. These
properties include the lack of a clear path or open air which
is required for radio signals and WiFi. Additionally, because
coal is an absorptive material, less than 10 percent of the
radio spectrum that is used above ground can be used
underground. A fraction of that (only about 1 percent) radio
spectrum is actually allocated for commercial communications
purposes. As a consequence, the availability of miner
communication equipment is severely limited.
(3) Research and experience have shown that communications
and tracking systems may not work equally well in every mine or
in every emergency situation, and therefore several different
systems may be necessary for development and integration.
(4) Because of the serious challenges of the mine
environment and the limited market provided by the mining
industry, much needed technology has not yet been developed by
the private sector or is not commercially available in the
(5) Furthermore, due to the regulatory structure of the
industry and the lengthy approval process for mine tracking and
communications systems, research must be accelerated so that
next generation technology can be quickly and efficiently
integrated into mines to protect the safety of miners.
(6) The National Institute of Standards and Technology is
well positioned to help accelerate the development of mining
tracking and communications technology. The National Institute
of Standards and Technology has a long history of working in
conjunction with industry to invest in longer-term, high-risk
research which yields national benefits far beyond private
payoff. Further, the National Institute of Standards and
Technology builds partnerships with industry to leverage
existing research and development to drive next generation
(7) The National Institute of Standards and Technology is
well-positioned to accelerate development of consensus mining
communications standards given the extensive work that the
organization has done in the field of emergency communications
to develop standards and technologies for interoperable
wireless telecommunications and information systems.
(8) In developing such standards, the National Institute of
Standards and Technology should work in cooperation with the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the
Mine Safety and Health Administration, and other relevant
public and private stakeholders, to build on existing
technology and knowledge regarding mine communications systems.
SEC. 3. MINE COMMUNICATIONS AND TRACKING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
(a) Establishment.--The Director of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology shall provide for the establishment of a
program of research, development, and demonstration that includes the
establishment of best practices, adaptation of existing technology, and
efforts to accelerate the development of next generation technology and
tracking systems for mine communications.
(b) Coordination.--In carrying out this section, the Director shall
coordinate with relevant Federal agencies and industry to evaluate
areas of research and development and best practices that will be most
promising in protecting miner safety.
(c) Optional Focus.--In establishing this program, the Director may
focus on the following communications and tracking system
(1) Systems that are likely to work in emergency
(2) Systems that work in coal mines, with special attention
paid to deep underground coal mines.
(3) Systems that provide coverage throughout all areas of
(4) Hybrid systems that use both wireless and
infrastructure based systems.
(5) Functionality for 2-way and voice communications.
(6) Systems that serve emergency and routine communications
(7) The ability to work with existing legacy systems and to
be quickly integrated.
(8) Propagation environment characterization, performance
metrics, and independently derived validation tests to verify
performance for standards development.
SEC. 4. STANDARDS REGARDING UNDERGROUND COMMUNICATIONS.
Consistent with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119, the
Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall
work with industry and relevant Federal agencies to develop consensus
industry standards for communications in underground mines. The
Director shall also develop and provide any needed measurement services
to support implementation of these standards. In their efforts to help
develop these standards and related measurement services, the following
issues should be addressed:
(1) The appropriate use of frequency bands and power
(2) Matters related to interoperability of systems,
applications, and devices.
(3) Technology to prevent interference.
SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Director of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology such sums as are
necessary for carrying out this Act for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, to
be derived from amounts authorized under section 3001 of the America
Passed the House of Representatives October 29, 2007.
LORRAINE C. MILLER,