Alpha Foundation culls 160 mine research pitches

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A foundation with $48 million to spend on new research into coal miners' safety and health has reviewed 160 proposals and will pick winners by Oct. 1.

Chairman Michael Karmis won't say how many pitches survived the first round. But the Alpha Foundation sent letters this week to those with the most promising projects and is seeking more details for further review. Eventually, the pool will be whittled to 10-15 projects, and some $10 million in grants will be awarded.

The Alpha Foundation was formed under a $210 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources after the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 men in West Virginia in 2010.

Alpha bought the mine from the former Massey Energy Co.

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