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Obama Administration Missed Chance To Get Tougher On Unsafe Mines

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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:41 PM
Original message
Obama Administration Missed Chance To Get Tougher On Unsafe Mines
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/10-2

Published on Saturday, April 10, 2010 by Huffington Post
Obama Administration Missed Chance To Get Tougher On Unsafe Mines
by Dan Froomkin

Long before the explosion that killed at least 25 coal miners inside Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine on Monday, Obama administration mine safety officials were aware of a major loophole that allowed companies like Massey to avoid stricter enforcement despite alarming safety records.

<edit>

Joe Main, a former United Mine Worker of America official, took over the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA, pronounced em-sha) in October. He told a congressional hearing in February that the backlog has effectively prevented MSHA from applying the stepped-up enforcement mechanisms to mines with a pattern of serious violations.

"And I think the consequence there is that mines have the ability to continue that pattern unabated," he said. His conclusion: "e must diminish the incentives for operators who appear to be developing a pattern of significant and substantial safety violations to contest, simply to delay enforcement."

But that was in February -- at a hearing called by a concerned chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.).

And according to Celeste Monforton, a George Washington University public health professor and former MSHA official, Obama administration officials had known of the problem for more than a year by then.

"I feel very confident that when the presidential transition teams in December and January were meeting with the senior career people in the agency," she said, "they heard that, one, there's a huge backlog in the review commission and, two, this is neutering, or making impotent, the pattern of violations provision of the Mine Act."

So, Monforton told HuffPost, "The question is: 'What did you do, knowing on January 21st that they're gaming the system? What did you do?'

"It doesn't look like they did anything."

Actually, the Obama administration did add four administrative law judges to the panel of 10 charged with ruling on the contested violations, in an attempt to somewhat reduce the backlog. And they've now requested four more.

But the basic rule that the companies are exploiting remained unchanged.

more...
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why am I not surprised?
:(
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Because...
you believe/create every conceivably negative scenario involving this President.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Deleted message
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. It's not the posters fault that the Obama admin did nothing until 29 people died.
Whose fault would you say it is? If not the Obama admin, I mean?

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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Of course it's not the poster's fault Obama is President.
No blame. No credit.

I was merely responding to the question. Perhaps it was meant to be rhetorical.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. The poster notices what a lot of us have noticed; Obama seems to bend over backwards for his
corporate contributors, or potential corporate contributors.

My guess is you believe that's a good thing, that Obama seems to be unwilling to cross corporate America on anything substantial.

I tend to agree with the poster. I think it's a bad thing.


I donated repeatedly to the Obama campaign, I spent hundreds of hours volunteering. The way things are going, that won't be happening again.

I'm tired of corporate Democrats pushing a Republican agenda, both here at home and aboard.


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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. Yeah, I guess it wouldn't have anything to do with Obama's track record
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. That's quite a collection.
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 02:15 PM by Bluebear
Have you posted that as a separate thread or was it locked as "too inflammatory"? It at least merits discussion.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. I posted that thread during the primaries
It got no response so I tucked it away in my DU journal.
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Weak.
"CHANGE? What a laugh!!!!!...some of you Obama folks..."

Obama has long been a supporter of clean coal. Nothing new in your loaded diatribe.
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choie Donating Member (899 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. yes, he does; however, there's one problem...
there IS no such thing as clean coal.
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Best get to editing wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_coal

That's a joke, by the way. I'm actually agnostic on "clean coal" as an alternative energy solution. Could take it or leave it.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. Truth hurts, doesn't it?
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 03:08 PM by theHandpuppet
You have no rebuttal to the contents so you just attack me personally. Sorry, but I've been around here too long to give a whit about your silly response.
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Stating that I find your cut-pastes with bold accents unoconvincing = attacking you personally?
Ok.

Sorry, there's nothing to rebut ... beyond what i've already noted in this thread.
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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Except there is a link, and a few posts down there is a link to many stories
compiled including direct quotes from Obama. Are you denying all this?

If you have some evidence to discredit these claims show it. Please.
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. There are links to stories about how Obama supports coal mining.
Does that mean he has blood on his hands in this disaster? Of course not.

Anyway, my original response/answer to the poster stands.
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. It seems like WV should have some responsibility for their mines....
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. If Boss Hog Blankenship didn't own WV
They might take some responsibility.

-Hoot
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. State's rights, eh?
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Obama wants to work with mining corporations, not regulate them. Illinois is a coal state, and
there is a lot of money in not regulating corporations, apparently.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. He's capable of finding a middle ground between any two opposite positions. nt
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. 29 dead workers are buried in that "middle ground" right now! But who cares about them when we have
such a wonderful President?
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
11. "No one could have foreseen the explosion of the mine." n/t
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
22. Strikes me as false
nt
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Why?
nt
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