A budget cut in the state office that inspects the safety of mining sites is forcing a reduction in its staff.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the staff of 141 full-time positions at the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing will be cut to 88, a reduction of 37 percent.
The Energy and Environment Cabinet announced the agency's reorganization on Friday.
Cabinet Secretary Len Peters said in a release that the state "will be challenged to make the inspections necessary to keep our miners safe."
Gov. Steve Beshear ordered the changes in response to a 30 percent cut the legislature made to the mine office's budget for the two-year fiscal period that begins July 1. Beshear had proposed a 5 percent reduction for the agency.