GEORGE BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT MINE PEOPLE
USA Today reports:
Federal inspectors routinely concluded that safety violations at the Sago Mine endangered only one person, findings that helped keep fines to a minimum before the disaster that killed 12 miners in January.
A USA TODAY analysis of inspection records shows that inspectors found hundreds of safety and health violations in the West Virginia coal mine. Fines go up -- by hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars -- if an inspector finds numerous people at risk....
In 90% of Sago's violations in 2004 and 2005, inspectors said one person was endangered, according to a USA TODAY analysis of MSHA inspection reports....
Sago was cited for 22 violations from July 2004 to December 2005 for "accumulation of combustible materials" -- coal dust and coal chunks that can spread fires and explosions. All 22 violations said one miner was endangered. MSHA fined the mine a total of $1,768 for 17 violations and is deciding fines for the five others.
"If you have coal dust in the air, that becomes part of the explosion," says Robert Ferriter, director of mine safety training at the Colorado School of Mines. "That would certainly affect more than one person. That would affect everybody in the area."
Now, none of these violations were connected to the explosion that killed 12 miners in January -- but if you were running a mine and being cosseted this way every time you had a safety violation, I think you'd conclude that you were in a rather mellow regulatory climate.
Yes, my headline is meant to invoke Kanye West's statement about Bush and black people in the wake of Katrina. I agree with Kanye -- George Bush doesn't care about black people. But there are plenty of other people he doesn't care about. If you don't write fat checks to the GOP and you don't seem likely to hold the all-GOP federal government accountable when you're betrayed by the powers that be, then George Bush doesn't care about you.