[Mb-civic] Sago Mine Disaster Indicts Deregulation
ean at sbcglobal.net
ean at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 6 21:57:47 PST 2006
Published on Friday, January 6, 2006 by the Progressive
Sago Mine Disaster Indicts Deregulation
by Matthew Rothschild
I'm sickened, as Im sure you are, by the tragic death of those twelve
coal miners in West Virginia.
And I can only imagine how it felt to be on that sadistic rollercoaster of
emotions that the company put people on as a result of bad PR.
But this mine disaster is an indictment not just of a company but of a
philosophythe philosophy of deregulation, which Bush and the
Republican Party and libertarians have been promoting at every turn.
This is what happens when you deregulate industry.
This is what happens when you let companies act as their own
This is what happens when the penalties for safety violations amount
to the gentlest of pats on the wrist.
The Mine Safety and Health administration issued a total of 208
citations for alleged violations at the site last year, reports The Boston
Most of the citations were issued before the current owners took over
the mine in November, but International Coal Group Inc. was cited by
the federal government three times in five days in December for
allowing flammable coal dust to collect in a work area.
Still, the Bush Administration didnt shut the mine down.
And for all of the citations last year, the mine owners had to pay a total
of only $24,000, the Globe reports. Scores of penalties were issued
for the minimum of $60.
Rather than regulate the coal companies, the Bush Administration has
entered into what it calls partnerships with the coal companies, the
United Mine Workers told the Globe, and the Administration is shying
away from imposing heavy fines and sanctions.
The Bush Administration also gave high-ranking jobs in the Mine
Safety and Health Administration to former industry officials, and it
yanked proposals for tightening regulations.
Among the regulatory proposals no longer being worked on, some of
them spanning years and administrations, are those addressing safety
issues with self-rescue respiratory devices for miners as well as the
shortage of mine rescue teams, The Washington Post reported on
November 16, 2004, in an article entitled Mining Safety Rules Got the
Shaft, Workers Union Says.
It should not take a disaster like the one in West Virginia to see the
fatal effects of the policy and philosophy of deregulation.
More people will be getting the shaft if we dont reverse this policy and
renounce this philosophy.
Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983.
© 2006 The Progressive
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