Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Think Progress: Administration Neglected Coal Mining Safety

Think Progress » Administration Neglected Coal Mining Safety: "The mining explosion should call attention to the Bush administration’s inadequate enforcement of federal mining safety regulations. Mining safety in the U.S. has improved dramatically since the Mining Safety and Health Act was signed in 1977. By the time that President Clinton signed the International Labor Organization’s Convention 176 concerning safety and health in mines, mining deaths dropped from 425 in 1970 to 85 in 2000.

Phil Smith, the communications director for the United Mine Workers of America, said that while citations have been issued, the fines assessed for safety violations are too small to force large corporations to make improvements. “The problem with the current laws is enforcement.” According to an AFL-CIO analysis, the Bush administration cut 170 positions from federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and has not proposed a single new mine-safety standard or rule during its tenure.

And there’s a reason for that. The Washington Post reported that West Virginia coal firms raised $275,000 for Bush."

I heard Rachel Maddow this morning talking about this, and this situation's pathetic. The mine apparently had been bought up by a consortium that buys up old, troubled mines and then hires NON-union miners, so they have no recourse to bad conditions. Heads should roll. This is so heartbreaking.


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