Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mine Safety-The Bush Legacy

We remember the Sago Mine disaster as rescuers continue to look for the 6 trapped miners in Utah. George W Bush's MSHA is a different entity than the one of Bill Clinton's.

Consider this:

“This mine [Sago] should have been closed… the record is very clear,” says Jack Spadaro, former director of the National Mine Safety and Health Academy.

Instead, MSHA continued issuing fines and the managers at then-owner Anker Mining Co. simply wrote them off as a cost of doing business on the cheap. It made perfect sense for the corporation's bottom line; the fines for those 205 violations total about $25,000. This was a pittance to Anker, never mind International Coal Group (ICG), which bought the Sago mine last November. ICG's most recent quarterly earnings were $158 million, meaning the average fine levied in 2005 -- about $150 -- equals a few seconds of income.

Don't kid yourself that Bush putting a mining executive in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration is any better than putting Heckuva Job Brownie in charge of FEMA. Because protecting the corporate bottom line trumps all.

And look what's happened. More miners die. And add on to the men trapped below, this tragedy utterly preventable. It sounds as if this mine was even more recklessly operated than the Sago Mine, and the mine owner as care less to the safety of his miners as they were back in the 10's and 20's and 30's.

What I understand is that the miners leave pillars of ore to support the roof, and as a mine plays out they start mining the pillars on the way out the door, as it were. This sounds incredibly dangerous, a mining practice that should exercise the highest level of operational safety actions. Yet that doesn't appear to bethe case, and for this big time Bush supporter, people die because of his failure to place the safety of his employees above the profits from his mine.

That's the Bush Way, my friends. Ms. Duckman was telling me that somebody said, I think it was on Kudlow and Cramer this afternoon regarding the stock market correction, that the best solution (as if there is something wrong with a stock market correction) for this market volatility was, yes, to do away with all regulations.

Well, that's what we've pretty much had for the past 6.5 years, how's that working out for us all? Do you think that guy has the guts to ask the family of that rescue worker? Or some Iraqi family brutalized by some Blackwater Mercenaries? And I could go on and on. The Bush Legacy-Death and No Taxes for the Rich.

No comments: