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UPDATE:  4/10/10 The 4 remaining miners at Montcoal have been found dead.


One has to ask, why doesn’t MSHA (Federal Mine Safety and Health Agency) do more to insist on safer mines? It makes no sense that the feds govern mine safety and the state can also. Yet a company has over 600 violations from one mine? How about the feds going in, shutting down the mines when they have glaring violations like ventilation systems not working and forcing the mines to pay the miners for time spent off the job until the mine is in compliance?

A current theme of mine is “this is 2010.” Coal mining has been unsafe since men first went into the bowels of the earth. Companies have gotten rich off the backs of miners. Part of our language comes from the dangers of mining (Canary in a coal mine). There are so many songs and films about the dangers of mining. Still we  have companies that have zero regard for the ultimate safety of their workers.

Should we insist that the federal government protect miners by holding the companies’ respective feet to the fire about violations? Should mining safety be turned over to the state? Probably those who would battle any attempt to  reform coal mining standards enforcement  would be the coal miners and their families. They are a hard, tenacious group held together by the danger of the job. The key word here is J-O-B. A coal mine brings jobs to an undeveloped, economically depressed area. Mining is hard dangerous work but it pays well, especially when the unions are involved. Where are the unions during all this talk of violations?

Mining is good money if you live to spend it. Massey Energy and its CEO Don Blankenship might have a great deal to answer for once the dust has settled, the dead buried, and the lost found. We simply cannot have mining accidents like this in 2010. These miners aren’t our canaries!

54 Thoughts to “Mine Safety Issues”

  1. Wolverine, you best quality is being able to sometimes break rank. You can have core beliefs without being locked in. Good for you!!!

  2. marinm

    Actually, I had no idea that [PWC] firefighters were offered educational benefits. I was pulling examples from the air. However, good info to know. Thanks Bruce.

    I could swear that FFX was cutting police and fire/rescue services because of there 250M budget gap. Sounds like we can hire some firefighters on the cheap! Offer them 30K + benefits. Same with FFX teachers if we weren’t cutting.

    Or, we could always hire in/recruit more volunteers until funding could be restored for career personnel. My personal idea would be to cut benefits to retain numbers as much as possible. But, I haven’t looked at the fire budget in awhile.

    MH, to your quote: “If you want businesses to come to your town to take some of the burden off of the homeowner’s tax responsibility, then you have to have these niceties that a community is judged by. Good schools, parks and libraries attract good businesses.”

    I’m going to play optimist and say we have all those – that we have a very nice place to live. Yet, we’re stuck with a 80%/20% (I don’t remember the official numbers but I think I’m being conservative here) mix of restidential to business. Our neighbor to the south, Stafford is courting PWC businesses away from PWC and just across the border. They offer a lower tax scheme and roughly the same demographics that we have here. So, how are we attracting business? By simply having a nice park? We’re hamstrining ourselves by offering such a high cost of doing business in this county.

    I guess I just have a simple question and this is more directed at public safety unions — How does a public safety union (not even talking about teachers unions because that’s just TOO easy to tear apart) help taxpayers? What is the benefit to the taxpayers of this county to have a unionized police or fire service? You can even argue that they’re ‘better trained’ but be prepared to explain how the increased cost of the training factors into better service and a metric to measure the difference.

    And, I’ll further caveat the above with my personal belief that the County Police should be abolished and that the Sheriff should be the highest law enforcement officer of our County.

    Somehow if I ever do run for office I don’t think I can count on either the local police or fire departments endorsing me. 🙂

  3. marinm

    Moon-howler :Wolverine, you best quality is being able to sometimes break rank. You can have core beliefs without being locked in. Good for you!!!

    It’s very rare that someone will go along 100% with the party line on something (unless they really have 0 brain power or were elected to Congress). I think almost everyone is a ‘mesh’ of ideas. I might swing VERY far right (Cuccunelli may be to my left at times, har har!) and on other matters I can swing so far left that I may agree with many posters on this blog 🙂

    I like it when people buck the party or are able to blaze their own path and have the intestinal fortitude to say; -D or -R are a bunch of retards (no I will not appologize for the word retard) and I think this is what needs to happen…..

  4. Marin, you will need to argue with Bruce about the public service unions. I can’t. We have a police department. We have had one since 1970 or thereabouts. Count on it not going away. Too large, too urban.

    marin, if I were you, I wouldn ‘t run for office. Maybe out in Nevada or someplace might work though.

    Businesses that want to bring their people in don’t want to come into underdeveloped places. They look for quality of life issues pretty hard. Maybe Bear will come back and address that issue.

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