H. Rept. 110-411 - 110th Congress (2007-2008)
October 29, 2007, As Reported by the Science and Technology Committee

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House Report 110-411 - MINE COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION ACT




[House Report 110-411]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    110-411

======================================================================



 
             MINE COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION ACT

                                _______
                                

October 29, 2007.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Gordon of Tennessee, from the Committee on Science and Technology, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3877]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science and Technology, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 3877) 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 regarding underground 
communications to protect miners in the United States, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Amendment.......................................................2
  II. Purpose of the Bill.............................................3
 III. Background and Need for the Legislation.........................3
  IV. Committee Actions...............................................6
   V. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill.........................7
  VI. Section-by-Section Analysis.....................................7
 VII. Committee Views.................................................8
VIII. Cost Estimate...................................................9
  IX. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate......................10
   X. Compliance With Public Law 104-4 (Unfunded Mandates)...........10
  XI. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations...............10
 XII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives..........11
XIII. Constitutional Authority Statement.............................11
 XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement...........................11
  XV. Congressional Accountability Act...............................11
 XVI. Earmark Identification.........................................11
XVII. Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law.........11
XVIII.Changes in Existing Laws Made by the Bill, As Reported.........11

 XIX. Committee Recommendations......................................11
  XX. Additional Views...............................................12
 XXI. Proceedings of Full Committee Markup...........................13

                              I. AMENDMENT

    The amendments are as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Mine Communications Technology 
Innovation Act''.

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 United States.
          (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 
        technology.
          (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 
                    PROGRAM AUTHORIZATION.

  (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 
characteristics:
          (1) Systems that are likely to work in emergency situations.
          (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 the 
        mine.
          (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 
        needs.
          (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.

  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 levels.
          (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 
COMPETES Act.

  Amend the title so as to read:

      A bill 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.

                        II. PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of the bill is to authorize a research, 
development, and demonstration program at the National 
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to accelerate the 
development of innovative mine communications and tracking 
technology; and to require the Director of NIST to work with 
industry and relevant Federal agencies to develop consensus 
standards and standard reference materials for communications 
in underground mines. The programs authorized in this bill are 
run by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

                III. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Over the past two years, several mine tragedies resulting 
in multiple deaths have shocked the Nation and have brought the 
issue of miner safety and health to the forefront. This series 
of tragedies started with the Sago mine explosion in West 
Virginia in 2006 and includes most recently the August 2007 
disaster at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah.
    In 2006, the number of miner fatalities in United States 
mines amounted to 72, the highest number since 2001 and a sharp 
rise after years of progress in lowering these numbers. From 
January through October of 2007, there have been 26 miner 
fatalities. The high number of fatalities has spurred a number 
of Congressional investigations as well as the passage of 
legislation targeted towards improving mine safety. These 
accidents, and particularly the most recent disaster at 
Crandall Canyon, highlighted the need for better tracking and 
communications capabilities, including devices that will work 
in the event of an emergency and will allow two-way 
communication.
    On August 6, 2007, six miners were trapped more than 
eighteen hundred feet underground in the Crandall Canyon mine 
when rocks and debris exploded off the walls of the tunnels 
where they were working. During the rescue attempt that 
followed, further disaster struck when another underground 
explosion occurred, killing three rescuers.
    This disaster resulted in the loss of nine lives with the 
whereabouts of six of those victims still unknown months after 
the accident. The lack of information about the exact location 
of the trapped miners resulted in a virtually impossible rescue 
and an excruciating ordeal for the families of the trapped 
miners. The lack of either tracking or two-way communications 
systems left rescuers with few options beyond blindly drilling 
through hundreds of feet of rock with the hopes of reaching 
survivors.
    Recent mine collapses have emphasized the need for 
effective tracking of miners underground as well as the need 
for emergency communications between miners inside the mine and 
personnel outside the mine. Mines generally have reliable and 
effective communications systems that often include hard-wired 
networks, but these systems are often compromised during 
catastrophic events. Experience has shown that such 
technologies must function in post-disaster environments and 
enable two-way communication.
    Beyond the threat that a catastrophic event could pose to 
the integrity of mine tracking and communications systems, 
mines have a number of unique characteristics that make 
implementing such systems even more difficult. These 
characteristics include physical forces, extreme temperatures, 
physical geometry and electromagnetic characteristics which 
together create a very difficult environment for effective 
signal propagation. These unique elements make implementation 
of many existing technologies virtually impossible and further 
add to the challenge of creating effective mine tracking and 
communications systems.
    Underground mines have a dynamic structure, a continuously 
changing maze of mine openings which include entries and 
crosscuts, following the wave of a coal seam within the 
mountain. The overall size of mines can range from tens to 
hundreds of thousands of feet of entries, some interconnected 
and some with dead ends. This means that no mine has the same 
layout and that even within the same mine, the size of and 
distances between various openings can vary widely.
    Two key measurements that impact communications systems 
include the line of sight distances between openings as well as 
the propagation paths through the mined out openings. The mine 
environment and the various distances between openings makes it 
more challenging for communications signals to be capable of 
traveling both long and short distances without interruption or 
corruption. Communications equipment is often not able to work 
in all areas of the mine or certain areas of the mine may not 
be equipped with the appropriate technology to support the 
communications system.
    Physical mine characteristics, including high humidity, the 
prevalence or rock and/or coal dust, in addition to the daily 
vibrations and shock within the mine all contribute to the 
difficulties in implementing and maintaining electrical 
systems. In addition, because miners could come into contact 
with potentially explosive levels of methane in various areas 
of the mine, all communications devices must be found to be 
intrinsically safe or enclosed in an explosion-proof enclosure 
and must be approved by the Mine Safety and Health 
Administration (MSHA). These constraints further limit the size 
and power source of communications and tracking devices that 
can be used by miners.
    Additionally, radio signals require a clear path or open 
air for optimum signal propagation but mine pillars, 
ventilation access points and the natural path of the mine can 
impede or even completely block conventional radio signal 
propagation. Signal propagation is also impacted by radio 
frequency selection and the electrical properties of coal. 
Under certain conditions, very low frequency signals can 
penetrate though the strata, but carry limited information and 
require a large antenna above ground. Higher frequency signals 
carry more information, but require line of sight paths and are 
unable to travel from turn to turn underground.
    Further research regarding underground communications and 
the applicability of existing technology to the underground 
mine environment is necessary in order to foster the 
development of next generation mine tracking and communications 
technology. Currently, communications for underground mines is 
unregulated and many necessary metrics and standards have not 
been developed in this niche field.
    Through research in the field of underground 
communications, additional radio spectrum could potentially be 
made available underground, providing firms with a greater 
allocation for commercial communications purposes. The 
development of consensus standards for underground 
communication will help facilitate the development of 
innovative new technology in the field of underground mine 
communications.
    Due to the relatively small market for mine communications 
products, many private sector firms do not have the capacity to 
invest in the necessary research, development and testing of 
mine communications technology. Because of the safety and other 
regulatory concerns associated with the mining industry, firms 
spend a significant amount of time waiting to gain approval for 
mine tracking and communications technology. Government-
sponsored research and the development of consensus standards 
in this field would aid in the acceleration of next-generation 
technology to better protect underground miners.
    As a technical agency with significant experience in 
developing consensus industry standards and providing 
measurement services to other industries, the National 
Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is well poised to 
assist in these tasks for the field of mine communications. 
NIST has a long history of working in close collaboration with 
industry to facilitate research and development in longer-term, 
high-risk research which will yield national benefits. This 
research will have a clear national development in fostering 
the development of innovative technology that will protect the 
health and safety of American miners. In the accelerating the 
development of consensus industry standards and provision of 
measurement services, NIST will seek to address the appropriate 
use of frequency bands and power levels, issues related to 
interoperability and interference.

                         IV. COMMITTEE ACTIONS

    On October 17, 2007, Representative Jim Matheson, for 
himself and Representative Bart Gordon, Chairman of the 
Committee on Science and Technology, Representative Ed 
Whitfield, Representative Mike Ross, Representative Geoff 
Davis, Representative Don Young, Representative Chris Cannon, 
Representative Spencer Bachus, and Representative Harold Rogers 
introduced H.R. 3877, the Mine Communications Technology 
Innovation Act, a bill 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 regarding underground 
communications to protect miners in the United States.
    The full Committee on Science and Technology met to 
consider H.R. 3877, on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 and 
considered the following amendments to the bill:
    1. Mr. Matheson offered an amendment to make technical and 
clarifying amendments to the bill and to make the following 
additional changes:
    In Section 3(a), expands the purpose of the research 
program created in the bill so that it includes the 
establishment of best practices and the adaptation of existing 
technology for mine communications;
    In Section 3(c), adds research on characterizing the radio 
propagation environment, performance metrics, and validation 
tests as focus areas for the program;
    In Section 4, generalizes the specific requirement for NIST 
to develop standard reference materials to a broader 
requirement to develop any needed measurement services for mine 
communications technology.
    The amendment was agreed to by a voice vote.
    Mr. Lampson moved that the Committee favorably report the 
bill, H.R. 3877, as amended, to the House with the 
recommendation that the bill as amended do pass; that the staff 
be instructed to prepare the report and make necessary 
technical and conforming changes; and that the Chairman take 
all necessary steps to bring the bill before the House for 
consideration. The motion was agreed to by a voice vote.
    Mr. Gordon moved that: (1) Members have two subsequent 
calendar days in which to submit supplemental, minority, or 
additional views on the measure; and (2) pursuant to clause 1 
of rule 22 of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee authorizes the Chairman to offer such motions as may 
be necessary in the House to adopt and pass H.R. 3877, the Mine 
Communications Technology Innovation Act, as amended.

         V. SUMMARY OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE BILL AS REPORTED

    H.R. 3877 authorizes the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology (NIST) to establish a research, development, and 
demonstration project to accelerate the development of 
innovative communications and tracking technology for use in 
mines. This project will include the establishment of best 
practices and adaptation of existing technology. NIST is 
required to coordinate with relevant Federal agencies to 
determine research priorities, which may include emergency 
communications systems, systems for deep underground mines, 
hybrid wireless and infrastructure based systems, or other 
optional priorities.
    The bill also requires NIST to work with industry and 
relevant Federal agencies to develop consensus standards for 
communications in mines. NIST is required to develop and 
provide measurement services in support of these standards.
    The bill authorizes to NIST such sums as are necessary to 
carry out these programs for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, to be 
derived from amounts authorized to NIST in the America COMPETES 
Act (Public Law 110-69).

        VI. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    ``Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act.''

Sec. 2. Findings

    Establishes Congressional findings that underground mines 
present unique communications challenges and existing 
communication technologies are inadequate for maintaining 
communications, especially in emergencies. Finds that the 
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is well 
positioned to support development of technology and technical 
standards to improve communications capabilities in mines in 
partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Health 
and Safety (NIOSH).

Sec. 3. Mine communications and tracking research and development 
        program authorization

    Requires the Director of NIST to establish a research, 
development, and demonstration program to accelerate the 
development of innovative mine communications and tracking 
technology, develop best practices, and adapt existing 
technology. Requires the Director to coordinate with other 
Federal agencies to determine research priorities for promoting 
miner safety. These priorities may include development of 
systems for emergency situations, systems for coal mines or 
deep underground mines, systems that provide ubiquitous 
coverage, hybrid wireless and wired systems, systems for use in 
both emergency and routine communications, and additional 
functionality for two-way and voice communications.

Sec. 4. Standards regarding underground communications

    Requires the Director of NIST to work with industry and 
relevant Federal agencies to develop consensus standards and 
provide related measurement services for communications in 
underground mines. Requires NIST to address the issues of (1) 
the appropriate use of frequencies and power levels; (2) 
communications interoperability; and (3) technology to prevent 
interference when developing standards and providing related 
measurement services.

Sec. 5. Authorization of appropriations

    Authorizes such sums as are necessary for carrying out this 
Act for FY 2009 and FY 2010, to be derived from amounts 
authorized to NIST under section 3001 of the America COMPETES 
Act.

                          VII. COMMITTEE VIEWS

    The Committee recognizes the urgent need to develop and 
implement improved communications technologies for use in mines 
during routine operation and emergencies. Mine-related 
accidents caused 234 deaths and nearly 40,000 injuries between 
2000 and 2006. In many of those situations, improved 
communications technologies could have aided the rescue and 
recovery efforts by making miners easier to locate or 
conditions easier to assess. The Committee believes that the 
Federal government should accelerate efforts to support the 
development of innovative technologies and adaptation of 
existing technologies capable of providing communications 
services in mines, especially in emergency situations to 
protect the life and health of miners.
    Underground mines present specific technical challenges 
that make traditional communications technology ineffective, 
especially in emergency situations. It is extremely difficult 
to lay infrastructure for traditional wired communications 
systems in mines, as new spaces are constantly being opened as 
mines expand, and equipment for installing infrastructure is 
not easily transportable into deep mines. In mines where this 
infrastructure does exist, it may be damaged and inoperative 
during emergency situations such as cave-ins. Existing wireless 
communications technology is also not adequately effective in 
mine environments. Open air pathways, which are required for 
radio signals and WiFi, do not exist in underground mines. 
Additionally, less than ten percent of the radio spectrum that 
is used for above ground communications can be used underground 
because of the physical properties of rock and coal. New 
technology supporting communications in spite of these 
challenges is urgently required to allow effective 
communication within mines and from mines to above ground 
emergency workers.
    The Committee believes that the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the key agencies to 
develop these new technologies, adapt existing technologies, 
and guide the creation of consensus standards and best 
practices to promote miner safety through effective 
communications. These activities fall specifically within 
NIST's stated mission, which is to promote innovation through 
technical standards development and research. NIST has a long 
record of successful collaborations with Federal agencies and 
industry to advance technology in a wide range of fields. The 
agency's ability to facilitate decision-making among 
stakeholders and provide expert technical assistance will 
ensure that new, effective technologies are implemented in the 
most efficient manner possible.
    The federal agencies that have responsibility for mine 
safety, including the National Institute of Occupational Safety 
and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Health and Safety 
Administration (MHSA), have previously turned to NIST for 
assistance in specific technical areas. For example, one of 
MHSA's responsibilities is monitoring the hearing of miners, 
who are often exposed to loud noises that can cause significant 
hearing damage. MHSA employs noise dosimeters worn by miners 
for this purpose, and the accuracy of the dosimeters is ensured 
with a calibration process that is conducted by NIST's 
Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL). NIST also conducted 
technical collaborations with the former U.S. Bureau of Mines 
to develop software for robotic mining systems, which can 
protect mine workers by reducing the need for them to operate 
in dangerous or difficult mine areas. The Committee expects 
that NIST's activities will be complementary and not redundant 
to ongoing work at NIOSH.
    The Committee believes that NIST should leverage its 
existing lab capabilities to implement the research, 
development and demonstration projects authorized in this 
legislation. Additionally, when appropriate, NIST should work 
with outside researchers through grants or other mechanisms to 
take advantage of the expertise of scientists with a background 
in mine-related fields or advanced communications. For the 
purpose of guiding standards development, NIST should be 
certain to include the National Institute of Occupational 
Safety and Health (NIOSH) so as to take advantage of that 
agency's expertise in the area of mine safety generally. 
Additionally, NIST should work closely with NIOSH to ensure 
that their respective research portfolios are complementary in 
terms of priorities and activities.
    NIST has specific expertise in the field of communications 
technology that is highly applicable to the challenges of 
communications in underground mines. The Electronics and 
Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL) at NIST carries out 
research and develops standard reference materials related to 
wireless communication. The Information Technology Laboratory 
(ITL) and the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) are 
also involved in the wireless communications program. 
Currently, NIST has an active research program in radio 
communications for first responders in difficult radio 
environments, such as demolished buildings. NIST researchers 
have conducted field tests of first-responder radios inside 
demolished buildings, and results from these tests show that it 
is possible to detect radio and cell-phone signals from inside 
collapsed buildings, but only with special equipment and under 
certain conditions. NIST is also working with the Department of 
Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to 
develop comprehensive standards for urban-environment search & 
rescue (USR) robots, including standards for radio 
communication with robots in tunnels. NIST is developing new 
technical approaches to radio communication and locating first 
responders and victims based on the results of these 
experiments. The conditions in these research projects present 
similar challenges to those that exist in mines, and the 
results of this research are a valuable starting point for 
innovations in the field of mine communications technology.

                          VIII. COST ESTIMATE

    A cost estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 has been timely submitted to 
the Committee on Science and Technology prior to the filing of 
this report and is included in Section X of this report 
pursuant to House Rule XIII, clause 3(c)(3).
    H.R. 3877 does not contain new budget authority, credit 
authority, or changes in revenues or tax expenditures. Assuming 
that the sums authorized under the bill are appropriated, H.R. 
3877 does authorize additional discretionary spending, as 
described in the Congressional Budget Office report on the 
bill, which is contained in Section X of this report.

             IX. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                  October 26, 2007.
Hon. Bart Gordon,
Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3877, the Mine 
Communications Technology Innovation Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susan Willie.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3877--Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act

    H.R. 3877 would establish a research and development 
program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology 
(NIST) to develop communications systems for underground mines. 
The program would focus on identifying existing methods that 
have been effective, adapting existing technology, and 
encouraging technological innovation in such communication 
systems. NIST, working with the mining industry and other 
federal agencies, also would be required to develop industry-
wide standards for communication in underground mines.
    Based on information from NIST, CBO estimates that 
implementing the provisions of H.R. 3877 would cost about $1 
million over the 2008-2012 period, subject to appropriation of 
the amounts authorized to be appropriated to NIST in the 
America COMPETES Act. Enacting H.R. 3877 would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 3877 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO contact for this estimate is Susan Willie. This 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  X. COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    H.R. 3877 contains no unfunded mandates.

          XI. COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    The oversight findings and recommendations of the Committee 
on Science and Technology are reflected in the body of this 
report.

       XII. STATEMENT ON GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    Pursuant to clause (3)(c) of House rule XIII, the goals of 
H.R. 3877 are to . . .

                XIII. CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact H.R. 3877.

               XIV. FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No Federal Advisory Committees are created by H.R. 3877.

                  XV. CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

    The Committee finds that H.R. 3877 does not relate to the 
terms and conditions of employment or access to public services 
or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of 
the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 104-1).

                      XVI. EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    H.R. 3877 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

      XVII. STATEMENT ON PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any state, local, or 
tribal law.

      XVIII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    None.

                     XIX. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

    On October 24, 2007, the Committee on Science and 
Technology favorably reported the Mine Communications 
Technology Innovation Act by a voice vote, and recommended its 
enactment.

                          XX. ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                              ----------                              


 ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF REPRESENTATIVES RALPH HALL, PHIL GINGREY, VERNON 
          EHLERS, MICHAEL McCAUL, TOM FEENEY AND ADRIAN SMITH

    Although Members on the minority side supported the bill 
offered in Committee, Members expressed concern with the 
language directing that funding for this bill come from the 
funds authorized for the COMPETES Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-
69). Retroactively authorizing programs through previously 
authorized legislation sets a questionable precedent for future 
programs to be authorized in a similar manner.
    Members expressed reservations that this practice could 
hamper the agencies enumerated in COMPETES which have long 
suffered declining or stagnant budgets. The purpose of the 
COMPETES Act was to increase America's competiveness and 
innovation capacity. It is not clear that this bill directly 
achieves that purpose. Members trust that this will not begin a 
precedent of redirecting funding intended for these programs 
whenever a new bill requires an authorization.

                                   Ralph M. Hall.
                                   Vernon J. Ehlers.
                                   Phil Gingrey.
                                   Michael T. McCaul.
                                   Tom Feeney.
                                   Adrian Smith.

 XXI. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP ON H.R. 3877, THE MINE 
                COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION ACT

                              ----------                              


                      WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2007

                  House of Representatives,
                       Committee on Science and Technology,
                                                    Washington, DC.

    The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m., in Room 
2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bart Gordon 
[Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Gordon. Good morning. The Committee will come to 
order, pursuant to notice. The Committee of Science and 
Technology meets to consider the following measures: H.R. 2406, 
To authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology 
to Increase its efforts in support of the integration of health 
care information enterprises in the United States; H.R. 3877, 
the Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act; and H.R. 
1834, the National Ocean Exploration Program Act.
    As we start, let me welcome back Mike Quear. Mike is the 
brains and the inspiration for, particularly the health care 
bit of this. As we pointed out the other day, Mr. Hall was very 
complimentary; Mike had a stroke recently, complicated by some 
other matters. He is back, and we are glad you are here, Mike. 
You are very important to the entire Committee.
    We now proceed with the markup, and I will begin with a 
brief statement. Today the Committee meets to markup three 
bills dealing with a wide range of issues.
    The first bill we will markup, H.R. 2406, deals with the 
issue of health care information technology. The broad use of 
IT in the health care sector could have far reaching benefits, 
including saving tens of billions of dollars per year--and that 
is tens of billions of dollars for both the taxpayers as well 
as for patients--improving the quality of medical care, and 
reducing dangerous medical errors.
    But meeting the challenge of developing and maintaining 
such a system is not simple. In order to achieve broad 
implementation, we need widely accepted technical standards 
that will let health care IT systems inter-operate while 
protecting patient privacy.
    H.R. 2406 authorizes the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology to increase its efforts to support the 
integration of health care IT in the United States, to develop 
or adapt or adopt existing technical health care IT standards 
for federal agencies, and to create a university grant program 
for multi-disciplinary research in health care IT--and I thank 
Mr. Wu for that addition. The bill is based on the 
recommendations of a report by the President's Information 
Technology Advisory Committee in 2004 and a study by the 
National Academies in 2005.
    The next bill we will markup is H.R. 3877, which addresses 
the issue of underground mine communication technology.
    Tragedies in West Virginia and Utah over the last few years 
have given us a painful illustration for the need for robust 
emergency communications in mines.
    H.R. 3877 authorizes research and standards development 
programs to address the important challenge of communication 
technology for underground mines. The bill authorizes an R&D 
and standards development program at the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology at NIST to promote development of 
innovative communications and tracking technologies of 
underground mines.
    To be clear, this bill has not, in any way, diminished the 
role of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health. NIST's efforts to promote improved communications 
technology through R&D and technical standards only support 
NIOSH's important work. And I want to thank Mr. Matheson for 
bringing this very important and timely issue to us.
    The National Ocean Exploration and National Undersea 
Research Program Act formally authorizes two programs at NOAA 
that have made important contributions to our knowledge of the 
oceans and developed technologies that enable us to explore 
these vast areas of our planet.
    Once again the Committee has three good bills in front of 
it, which do address three different, but critical issues.
    And once again, we are marking up both Republican and 
Democratic bills, because as I have said before, good ideas are 
good ideas, regardless of where they might originate. And I 
urge my colleagues to support each of these good bills.
    I now recognize Mr. Hall to present his opening remarks.
    [The prepared statement of Chairman Gordon follows:]
               Prepared Statement of Chairman Bart Gordon
    Today the Committee meets to markup three bills dealing with a wide 
range of issues.
    The first bill we will markup, H.R. 2406, deals with the issue of 
health care information technology. The broad use of IT in the health 
care sector could have far reaching benefits, including saving tens of 
billions of dollars per year, improving the quality of medical care, 
and reducing dangerous medical errors.
    But meeting the challenge of developing and maintaining such a 
system is not simple. In order to achieve broad implementation, we need 
widely accepted technical standards that will let health care IT 
systems inter-operate while protecting patient privacy.
    H.R. 2406 authorizes the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology (NIST) to increase its efforts to support the integration of 
health care IT in the United States, to develop or adopt existing 
technical health care IT standards for federal agencies, and to create 
a university grant program for multi-disciplinary research in health 
care IT.
    The bill is based on the recommendations of a report by the 
President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) in 2004 
and a study by the National Academies in 2005.
    The next bill we will markup is H.R. 3877, which addresses the 
issue of underground mine communication technology.
    Tragedies in West Virginia and Utah over the last few years have 
given us a painful illustration of the need for robust emergency 
communications in mines.
    H.R. 3877 authorizes research and standards development programs to 
address the important challenge of communications technology for 
underground mines. The bill authorizes an R&D and standards development 
program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to 
promote development of innovative communications and tracking 
technologies for underground mines.
    To be clear, this bill does not in any way diminish the role of the 
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIST's 
efforts to promote improved communications technology through R&D and 
technical standards support NIOSH's important work.
    Historically, NIST has worked with industry and federal agencies on 
long- term R&D projects and development of technical standards, 
including first responder radio communications, and is the best agency 
to bridge the research and technology gap in the field of mine 
communications.
    Finally, we will also consider H.R. 1834, introduced by our 
colleague on the Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Saxton. The National 
Ocean Exploration and National Undersea Research Program Act formally 
authorizes two programs at NOAA that have made important contributions 
to our knowledge of the oceans and developed technologies that enable 
us to explore these vast areas of our planet.
    Once again the Committee has three good bills in front of it which 
address three different, but critical issues.
    And once again, we are marking up both Republican and Democratic 
bills, because as I have said before, good ideas are good ideas 
regardless of where they come from. I urge my colleagues to support 
each of these good bills.

    Mr. Hall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you very ably pointed 
out, I am pleased, and our side of the docket is pleased that 
this committee is marking up three good bills today.
    H.R. 2406 will certainly help clarify and codify NIST's 
role in the integration of health information technology. NIST 
has played a very important role in health information 
technology through their work with the Department of Health and 
Human Services, and this legislation helps them to continue 
that vital role as we develop inter-operability standards.
    H.R. 3877 offers another opportunity to clarify NIST's role 
in the important area of mine communication technology. AS the 
tragedy in Utah unfortunately illustrated, we have a lot of 
work to do to improve communications between surface personnel 
and underground miners so as to advance miner health and 
safety.
    And finally, H.R. 1834 authorizes two programs that are 
already in existence at NOAA, the Ocean Exploration Program and 
the National Undersea Research Program. These are two excellent 
initiatives, and it is time that we codify their goals and 
objections into law.
    I would like to thank you and your staff for working with 
us to improve these bills and craft good policy.
    I yield back the balance of my time.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Hall follows:]
           Prepared Statement of Representative Ralph M. Hall
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased that this committee is 
marking up three good bills today. H.R. 2406 will help clarify and 
codify NIST's role in the integration of health information technology. 
NIST has played an important role in health information technology 
through their work with the department of health and human services, 
and this legislation helps them continue that vital role as we develop 
inter-operability standards.
    H.R. 3877 offers another opportunity to clarify NIST's role in the 
important area of mine communications technology. As the tragedy in 
Utah unfortunately illustrated, we have a lot of work to do to improve 
communications between surface personnel and underground miners so as 
to advance miner health and safety.
    Finally, H.R. 1834 authorizes two programs that are already in 
existence at NOAA, the Ocean Exploration Program and the National 
Undersea Research Program. These are two excellent initiatives, and it 
is time that we codify their goals and objectives into law.
    I would like to thank you and your staff for working with us to 
improve these bills and craft good policy.
    I yield back the balance of my time.

    Chairman Gordon. Thank you, Mr. Hall.
    Without objection, Members may place statements in the 
records at any point.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Mitchell follows:]
         Prepared Statement of Representative Harry E. Mitchell
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    As you know, our nation is facing a health care crisis. And I'm not 
even talking about the rising cost. We have an information crisis. 
Different information is stored in different systems, and too often we 
have to jump through hoops do share it. We have yet to get vital health 
information stored in one uniform system.
    The inability to share health information puts patient care at 
risk. According to the Institute of Medicine, as many as 98,000 people 
die in hospitals yearly from medical errors such as improper 
medications and incorrect diagnoses, and as much as 49 percent of 
diagnostic testing is replicated because previous tests results are not 
readily accessible.
    In addition to the honor of serving on this committee, I have the 
honor of serve as Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee's 
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In the course of our work 
there, we have seen serious problems with medical information sharing 
between the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. 
Veterans are finding technological and bureaucratic hurdles when they 
try to access their own medical histories. This puts their medical care 
at risk, and I think our nation's heroes deserve better.
    I am pleased with the work that the Science and Technology 
Committee has dome to help create a solution to this long vexing 
problem. I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 2406, and I am confident that 
this legislation will establish the technical standards necessary to 
ensure secure and accurate health care information sharing between 
federal agencies like the DOD and the VA.
    I yield back.

    Chairman Gordon. We now consider H.R. 3877, the Mine 
Communications Technology Innovation Act. I yield to the 
gentleman from Utah, Mr. Matheson, five minutes to describe his 
bill.
    Mr. Matheson. Well, thank you, Chairman Gordon, and I also 
want to thank both you and Ranking Member Hall for your help on 
this matter.
    This legislation is very important to me because I have 
been working on at the aftermath of the disaster at the 
Crandall Canyon Mine, which is in my congressional district. I 
think we all remember it was on August 6 that six miners were 
trapped when rocks and debris exploded off the walls of the 
tunnels where they were working, more than 18,000 feet 
underground. During the rescue attempt that followed, further 
disaster struck when underground activity caused a burst of 
rubble to explode off the cavern wall, and that killed three 
rescuers at the time.
    Now, one of the most difficult aspects of the Crandall 
Canyon Mine collapse was not knowing where the trapped miners 
were when the cave-in occurred. It made for an excruciating 
ordeal for the families, the mine owner and the mine rescuers. 
I think everyone in this room, if you watched on television, 
you remember that there is this frustrating scenario where 
multiple holes are being drilled down from the surface, but it 
was clear that it wasn't known exactly where the trapped miners 
were, and each hole, as it was drilled, won't find any sign of 
the miners.
    And I think a lot of us felt frustration at the time about 
thinking we can communicate and get images from the surface of 
Mars, but we can't seem to get communication to establish where 
there miners are undergrounds. Mines generally have reliable 
communications systems in place, but most mines have properties 
that make implementation of current technology difficult. The 
problem is the open-air pathway required for radio signals and 
WiFi do not exist, and less than 10 percent of the radio 
spectrum used above ground can be used underground.
    Because of the challenges of the mine environment and the 
limited nature of the market, much needed technology has not 
been developed or is not commercially available, so the purpose 
of this legislation is to accelerate the development of 
innovate next-generation mine tracking and communication 
technology. My legislation directs 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 
mines.
    As the Chairman indicated in his remarks at the start of 
this hearing, this is a narrowly targeted R&D bill. It does not 
infringe on other committees' jurisdictions in the House when 
it comes to mine safety issues. I think it is a critical issue 
that ought to be addressed in order to better protect our 
miners.
    And again, both Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Hall, I 
thank you for your cooperation on this, and I will yield back 
my time.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Matheson follows:]
           Prepared Statement of Representative Jim Matheson
    Thank you, Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Hall.
    I thank both of you for your willingness to consider H.R. 3877, the 
Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act. This legislation is very 
near to my heart and is something that I have been working on in the 
aftermath of the disaster at Crandall Canyon Mine which is in my 
district.
    On August 6, six miners were trapped when rocks and debris exploded 
off the walls of the tunnels where they were working, more than 
eighteen hundred feet underground. During the rescue attempt that 
followed, further disaster struck when underground activity caused a 
burst of rubble to explode off the cavern wall, killing three rescuers.
    One of the most difficult aspects of the Crandall Canyon mine 
collapse was not knowing where the trapped miners were when the cave-in 
occurred. It made for an excruciating ordeal for the families, the mine 
owner and the mine rescuers. The lack of communications left the 
rescuers with the frustrating scenario of trying to drill blindly 
through hundreds of feet of rock with the hope of reaching survivors.
    While mines generally have reliable communications systems in 
place, most mines have properties that make implementation of current 
technology difficult. For example, the open air pathway required for 
radio signals and WiFi do not exist and less than ten percent of the 
radio spectrum used above ground can be used underground. Because of 
the challenges of the mine environment and the limited nature of the 
market, much needed technology has not yet been developed or is not 
commercially available.
    The purpose of this legislation is to accelerate the development of 
innovative, next generation mine tracking and communications 
technology. My legislation directs 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 mines.
    This is a critical issue that must be addressed in order to better 
protect our miners and I thank you Mr. Chairman for your consideration 
of this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Chairman Gordon. Thank you Mr. Matheson. I recognize Mr. 
Hall to present any remarks.
    Mr. Hall. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you and your 
staff for taking some time to sit down and to work on a 
manager's amendment to this bill.
    There is a clear agreement that NIST has the expertise 
needed to draft standards for communication equipment in mines 
and other subterranean environments and foster development of 
those systems through best practices of measurement services 
and research evaluations. This bill as amended would 
substantially contribute to the health and safety of miners. 
Specifically, NIST has long been a leader in communications 
research technology and has the equipment and expertise to 
characterize the mine environment and determine what techniques 
are best suited for these difficult conditions.
    However, many Members of the Committee and I were concerned 
that the bill, as introduced, went beyond NIST's core 
competencies to include technology development activities 
beyond their scope and duplicative of efforts currently 
underway at NIOSH. Under the 2006 Miner Act, NIOSH has received 
significant funding to lead an interagency program to develop 
communication, tracking, oxygen supply, and refuge systems for 
mines. And to date, this program has invested over $23 million 
and is steadily progressing toward installation of new safer 
communication systems in 2009.
    And it is my understanding that the manager's amendment 
ensures that any activity undertaken by NIST will complement 
the large effort already underway at NIOSH. And while I am 
pleased with the manager's amendment, I do believe this 
committee could have crafted an even better bill if we had been 
given the time necessary to craft this legislation by the 
regular order.
    While I realize that time is not in an overabundant supply 
in these halls at this time, and the Chair has reason to move 
this bill quickly to the Floor, it is my hope that this will be 
an exception to the rule of carefully considering and wisely 
disseminating legislation from this committee.
    And the policy in this amended bill, however, is one I hope 
the entire Committee can support. The bill creates a basic 
framework to ensure that the government's research agencies 
work cooperatively, effectively, and quickly to improve mine 
safety. And the world-renown capability of the NIST 
laboratories can significantly improve implementation of 
emergency communications and tracking systems in mines, and I 
do support passage of the amended bill today.
    I yield back my time, sir.
    Chairman Gordon. Thank you, Mr. Hall. Well, let me say that 
your thoughtful, constructive comments were certainly noted, 
and you, I think, were correct.
    Does anyone else wish to be recognized?
    Mr. Chandler.
    Mr. Chandler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I just want to compliment Mr. Matheson on bringing this 
matter to the Committee and passing this--hopefully passing 
this bill. The mine tragedy in Utah was just another on in a 
long line of mine tragedies in this country. We have experience 
the same sort of thing in my home State of Kentucky, and I 
believe that we ought to do everything in our power to protect 
our miners.
    This is an effort to do it. Communications are vital, and I 
applaud and Mr. Matheson and the Chairman and the Ranking 
Member for moving on this thing. Thank you.
    Chairman Gordon. Does anyone else wish to be recognized?
    Dr. Gingrey.
    Mr. Gingrey. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I echo the 
sentiments expressed by Mr. Hall in regard to some of his 
concerns about regular order, but let me just compliment the 
gentleman from Utah. His heart is in the right place, no 
question about it. The gentleman from Kentucky knows of what he 
speaks, and if we had a Member here from West Virginia, I am 
sure they would echo those same sentiments.
    So we understand from this side. While we like regular 
order, and would like to have had a little bit more time, but 
in this particular instance, time is of the essence, and so I 
commend Mr. Matheson for the bill, and I certainly support it.
    Chairman Gordon. Does anyone else wish to comment on the 
bill? All right, again, Mr. Matheson, this bill is going to 
save lives and heartache for a lot of families. Thank you for 
bringing this to us.
    I ask unanimous consent that the bill is considered as read 
and open to amendment at any point and that the Members proceed 
with the amendments in the order of the roster.
    Without objection--excuse me. The first amendment on the 
roster is the manager's amendment, offered by the gentleman 
from Utah, Mr. Matheson. Are you prepared with your amendment?
    Mr. Matheson. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I am. Thank you.
    Chairman Gordon. The Clerk will report the amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 3877, offered by Mr. Matheson 
of Utah.
    Chairman Gordon. I ask unanimous consent to dispense with 
the reading. Without objection, so ordered.
    I recognize the gentleman from Utah for five minutes to 
explain his amendment.
    Mr. Matheson. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the 
tradition of this committee, working in close consultation with 
both Majority and Minority staff, we drafted a manager's 
amendment that I think better defines the purpose of this 
research program to fit within NIST's set of core competencies.
    Very briefly, these changes include the establishment of 
best practices, adaptation of existing technology for mine 
communication, and measurement services for mine communication. 
Additionally, this amendment clarifies that NIST is well 
positioned to accelerate the development of consensus 
standards, rather than draft those standards.
    The amendment includes several other technical changes and 
does not make any changes to authorization language.
    Again, I think the cooperation on both sides of the aisle 
on developing this manager's amendment. I urge its adopting, 
and I will yield back my time.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Matheson follows:]
           Prepared Statement of Representative Jim Matheson
    Thank you, Chairman Gordon.
    Working in close consultation with the Majority and Minority staff 
of the Science Committee, we drafted a manager's amendment that expands 
the purpose of this research program to better fit within NIST's set of 
core competencies.
    These changes include the establishment of best practices, 
adaptation of existing technology for mine communication and 
measurement services for mine communications. Additionally, this 
amendment clarifies that NIST is well-positioned to accelerate the 
development of consensus standards, rather than draft those standards. 
The amendment includes several other technical changes and does not 
make any changes to authorization language.

Background Summary of Manager's Amendment to H.R. 3877

    Major changes in the manager's amendment:

        
  Expands the purpose of the research program created 
        in the bill so that it includes the establishment of best 
        practices and the adaptation of existing technology for mine 
        communications; and adds research on characterizing the radio 
        propagation environment, performance metrics, and validation 
        tests as focus areas for the program.

        
  Generalizes the specific requirement for NIST to 
        develop standard reference materials to a broader requirement 
        to develop any needed measurement services for mine 
        communications technology.

    Minor changes in the manager's amendment:

        
  Modifies the title of the bill to include other 
        measurement services for mine communications technology.

        
  Changes the findings to note that NIST is well-
        positioned to accelerate the development of consensus standards 
        for mine communications technology rather than to draft those 
        standards.

        
  Adds language to the findings that NIST should work 
        with other relevant public and private stakeholders on mine 
        communications technology in addition to NIOSH and the Mine 
        Safety and Health Administration.

        
  Includes best practices for mine communications 
        technology in the list of areas on which NIST shall coordinate 
        with other federal agencies.

    THIS BILL DOES NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES TO PAYGO.

    Chairman Gordon. Is there further discussion on the 
amendment? If no, the votes occurs on the amendment. All in 
favor, say aye; those opposed, no. The ayes have it. The 
amendment is agreed to.
    Are there other amendments? If no, then the vote occurs on 
the bill H.R. 3877, as amended. All those in favor, say aye; 
opposed, no. In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it.
    Mr. Lampson. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee 
favorably report H.R. 3877, as amended, to the House with the 
recommendation that the bill do pass. Furthermore, I move that 
the staff be instructed to prepare the legislative report and 
make necessary technical and conforming changes and that the 
Chairman take all necessary steps to bring the bill before the 
House for consideration.
    Chairman Gordon. The question is on the motion to report 
the bill favorably. Those in favor of the motion will signify 
by saying aye; opposed, no. The ayes have it, and the bill is 
favorably reported.
    Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon 
the desk. Members will have two subsequent calendar days in 
which to submit supplement Minority or additional views on the 
measure, ending Monday, October the 29th at 9:00 a.m.
    I move, pursuant to Clause 1 of Rule 22 of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives that the Committee authorize the 
Chairman to offer such motions as may be necessary in the House 
to adopt and pass H.R. 3877, the Mine Communications Technology 
Innovation Act, as amended. Without objection, so ordered.
    Let me say to the Members, this appears to be our last 
markup of this year. I thank you for your attendance. I think 
this is probably a record year, and we want to do more than 
just have numbers. We want to have good content, too, and this 
is 30-something bills, all of which have been bipartisan. All 
but one had been unanimous. I thank you for your cooperation, 
and let us continue next year in the same way.
    This concludes this markup----
    Mr. Lampson. Mr. Chairman, just may I before you end, just 
commend you for the leadership that you have provided to this 
committee. It has been excellent. It is great to work with you, 
and I think this is a wonderful committee to be a part of. 
Thank you so much.
    Chairman Gordon. Thank you.
    Mr. Lampson. And the staff.
    Chairman Gordon. I was going to say, it helps to have 
excellent staff. And we do. Thank you very much.
    [Whereupon, at 11:18 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
                               Appendix:

                              ----------                              


        H.R. 3877, Section-by-Section Analysis, Amendment Roster





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                     Section-by-Section Analysis of

        H.R. 3877, Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act

Sec. 1: Short Title.

    ``Mine Communications Technology Innovation Act''

Sec. 2: Findings.

    Establishes Congressional findings that underground mines present 
unique communications challenges and existing communication 
technologies are inadequate for maintaining communications, especially 
in emergencies. Finds that the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology (NIST) is well positioned to support development of 
technology and technical standards to improve communications 
capabilities in mines in partnership with the National Institute for 
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Sec. 3: Mine Communications and Tracking Research and Development 
                    Program Authorization.

    Requires the Director of NIST to establish a research, development, 
and demonstration program to accelerate the development of innovative 
mine communications and tracking technology. Requires the Director to 
coordinate with other federal agencies to determine research priorities 
for promoting miner safety. These priorities may include development of 
systems for emergency situations, systems for coal mines or deep 
underground mines, systems that provide ubiquitous coverage, hybrid 
wireless and wired systems, systems for use in both emergency and 
routine communications, and additional functionality for two-way and 
voice communications.

Sec. 4. Standards Regarding Underground Communications.

    Requires the Director of NIST to work with industry and relevant 
federal agencies to develop consensus standards and standard reference 
materials for wireless communications in underground mines. Requires 
NIST to address the issues of (1) the appropriate use of frequencies 
and power levels; (2) communications inter-operability; and (3) 
technology to prevent interference when developing standards and 
standard reference materials.

Sec. 5. Authorization of Appropriations.

    Authorizes such sums as are necessary for carrying out this Act for 
FY 2009 and FY 2010, to be derived from amounts authorized to NIST 
under section 3001 of the American Competes Act.
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