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Coal Miners

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Steve

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a couple quick facts....Coal mining deaths.

1991- 1999..........average 93 per year.
2000...................47 deaths
2001...................42 deaths
2002.................. 27 deaths.
2003...................30 deaths.
2004...................28 deaths.
2005...................22 deaths (14 underground)
2006 as of today..16 deaths (all underground)
http://www.msha.gov/


recent changes in West Virginia permit and practices are coming to light, amid claims of failure of the Goverment....

"Manchin, the former owner of the coal brokerage firm Enersystems, Governor Manchin received $571,214 of the $673,251 spent by coal interests in the gubernatorial election of 2004. Industry leaders also contributed $174,500 for Manchin’s inaugural ball.
There is a serious question as to whether the governor’s effort to “streamline” the state’s permit process was a factor in state agencies turning a blind eye to dangerous conditions at the Sago Mine.
 

Steve

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each needless death for whatever cause is painful.

and the safety of the Nation must be balanced with the cost.....if providing a electronic tracking devise such as Austrailia demands, can cut the under ground deaths in half, then demand it...

but is shutting down a mine due to regulatory oversight being to restrictive..then let the worker decide....

there are many jobs that result in death...by suger coating the ability to make every one safe we would not be able to move...deaths by industry shows mining at about 1% of the nations total...Manufactoring at about 17%,

and we all know what over regulation did to the manufactoring jobs in this country......
 

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Excerpts from several articles; links below; my emphasis.

Who is Jack Spadaro? He's a man who's devoted his life to the safety of miners and the safety of people who live near mines.

He's an engineer, who until recently was head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy (MSHA), a branch of the Department of Labor, which trains mining inspectors.

But he lost that job last year, after he blew the whistle on what he called a whitewash by the Bush administration of an investigation into a major environmental disaster. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.

”I had never seen anything so corrupt and lawless in my entire career as what I saw regarding interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern United States,” says Spadaro.

“I've been in government since Richard Nixon. I've been through the Reagan administration, Carter and Clinton. I've never seen anything like this.”

What he's talking about is what he calls a government cover-up of an investigation into a disaster 25 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill. “


And who did President Bush appoint to oversee safety in the mines? “The new head of MSHA, a Bush appointee named Dave Lauriski, was a former mining industry mining executive, and so were his top deputies.”

"The nation's coal mines have been required to pay only a fraction of the federal fines imposed after deadly accidents since 1999, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has levied $9.1 million in fines in the past seven years against companies cited for safety violations following mine fatalities. About 28% of that amount has been collected, according to data on MSHA's website.
At least $5.2 million in fines has been reduced to $2.5 million on appeal. An additional $2.2 million in fines is being appealed; about $1 million is listed as delinquent. Proposed fines and fines wiped out by bankruptcies account for the remainder.
MSHA oversees the nation's 1,400 coal mines and 75,000 coal miners. An MSHA team is investigating last week's explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia that killed 12 miners and sparked scrutiny of the government's monitoring of mine safety.
Since 1999, 206 accidents have killed 234 coal miners. Fines ranged from $113 to a maximum of $60,000.
From 1999 until last week, Sago had no fatal accidents, but it had been cited for 276 safety violations in the last two years and fined $33,600. It paid $23,986. (Related story: CEO: Mine passageway unblocked)
Its largest fines were often reduced by judges or through negotiations between the mine operator and U.S. Labor Department lawyers. That process, critics say, enables mine owners to wriggle out of severe penalties that are in place to keep workers safe."


And what did the owners of the mines do with all the money they've saved in fines and lack of improved safety? Why, they gave it to the Republicans.

The last link below has political contributions for the coal industry. In 1998 they gave about $1.5 million to politicians, 29% to Dems. In 2004, the latest figures complete, they gave $2.3 million with 90% of it going to Republicans!

I can add the coal mining industry to the list of big businesses that this Administration has sold out to.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/01/60minutes/main609889.shtml
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-01-09-mine-fines_x.htm
http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=E1210
 

Disagreeable

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I almost missed this one. Link below; my emphasis.

"The Bush administration is reviewing safety equipment in mines after scrapping similar initiatives started by the Clinton administration. Miners' advocates said pulling those initiatives stopped potentially important safety rules from becoming reality; the Republicans cited changing priorities and resource concerns."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060123/ap_on_re_us/mine_safety
 

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