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Washington • The Senate on Friday passed a measure by Rep. Jim Matheson that would speed up development of better communication devices for underground mines, legislation that resulted from the Crandall Canyon mine disaster in 2007.

Matheson's bill would create a grant program through the National Institute of Standards and Technology for companies or inventors working to create a technology that could allow person-to-person communication after a mining cave-in.

Six miners and three would-be rescuers died in the rural Utah mine three years ago after walls of coal burst deep in the coal mine.

Matheson's bill was included in a larger measure aimed at strengthening America's competitiveness in science and technology.

Thomas Burr

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