Stop killing our workers

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Stop killing our workers



Another mining disaster that follows on the heels of unsafe working conditions for the miners.

Instead of the crocodile tears Mr President, how about some criminal charges being leveled here to help put a stop to these worker tragedies. What are you going to do about it, or do you even care.



Obama offers condolences to families of mine disaster victims


A huge underground explosion blamed on methane gas killed 25 coal miners in the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades. Four others were missing Tuesday, their chances of survival dimming as rescuers were held back by poison gases that accumulated near the blast site.

Rescuers prepared to drill three shafts going down over 300 metres each to release methane and carbon monoxide that chased them from the mine after the blast Monday afternoon, Gov. Joe Manchin said.


Though the cause of the blast was not known, the operation run by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said.



The rest of the article goes on and on. It's always the workers that pay the price. This is so sick.


Mines Fight Strict Laws by Filing More Appeals



As recently as March, for example, federal mine inspectors found dangerous coal dust accumulations during two separate inspections at the Massey Energy Company's Upper Big Branch mine, the site of an explosion on Monday that killed at least 25 miners.

And throughout last year, the mine, in Montcoal, W.Va., was cited for failing to conduct inspections that would have spotted dangerous piles of coal dust and other unsafe conditions.

Massey appealed at least 37 of the 50 citations for serious safety violations that it received last year.

At a hearing in February, Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, complained that the growing number of appeals by coal companies threatened to "render the federal efforts to hold mine operators accountable meaningless." Mining safety experts have expressed similar concerns.

One in four citations issued against coal mines are now appealed by operators - three times the appeal rate before the law, according to regulators. The result is a backlog of 18,000 pending appeals and $210 million in contested penalties.

The appeals "are also allowing miners, in some cases the worst operators, to escape liability for which they are in fact liable and continue to put miners in harm's way," Mr. Miller said at the hearing.

Mine operators blamed the government for the increasing appeals. Bruce Watzman, senior vice president of the National Mining Association, called the government's citation process "irrational" but said appeals did nothing to endanger the safety of miners.

Officials at Massey did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment. The company's Web site says that its safety record is better than the industry's average when it comes to accidents that result in lost time.

And Don L. Blankenship, the company's chief executive, cautioned in a radio interview Tuesday against reading too much into the Upper Big Branch mine's history of violations.

"Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process," Mr. Blankenship said in the interview with the West Virginia MetroNews radio network, adding that there are violations at every coal mine in the country.

Although all mining companies have filed appeals, Massey - and Mr. Blankenship in particular - has developed a reputation for an aggressive style.

Mr. Blankenship has taken on unions, believers in global warming and even, in West Virginia, the trade association representing coal mining companies. He unintentionally set a new national legal precedent last year when the United States Supreme Court ruled that judges must disqualify themselves from cases involving people who spent unusually large sums to elect them.

That case was brought after Mr. Blankenship spent about $3 million in 2004 to defeat an incumbent justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. The beneficiary of Mr. Blankenship's spending, Brent D. Benjamin, went on to become the court's chief justice, and he twice joined the majority in 3-to-2 decisions throwing out a $50 million jury verdict against Massey Energy.


welder welder's picture

Is West Virgina a Right to Work state?


All but 9 states are and WV is one of the 41.


This is an easy one to solve. Citation fines get paid in full before you can appeal. And you pay the costs of an appeal if you lose, just like happens for a traffic ticket in PA