If you’ve gotten this far, you likely know that this piece most certainly does not blame Bush for the Sago Mine disaster. Now ask yourselves why the conservative pundits want you think that’s what I was writing. Here’s a clue: Bush’s indefensible fealty to corporate power undercuts the health and safety of workers at every level of the economy. Corporations understandably want to save money any way they can. Sometimes government has to step in to remind them that there are some corners that just should not be cut. And that’s what offends the punditocracy so much — God forbid you should actually see this issue from the side of the workers.
Nationally, 22 coal miners died on the job in 2005, down from the previous record of 27 in 2002. In West Virginia, the industry recorded a remarkable three fatal accidents, half the previous low of six, recorded three years ago.
Here are some more statistics directly from the Mine Safety and Health Administration:
U.S. Coal mine production reached the highest levels in history in recent years. In 2004 coal mining fatalities were near the lowest level in history with 28. Even with the recent high production, MSHAï¿½s accident reduction efforts helped to keep the annual fatality totals nearly 50% lower in recent years compared with totals recorded in the early 1990s.
Yet Democrats, with a straight face, can still find a way to blame Bush for the tragedy.
Reps. Nick J. Rahall and Alan Mollohan, both D-W.Va., have joined in the call for congressional leaders to convene hearings into the Sago Mine tragedy that killed 12 coal miners and hospitalized another…
Rahall and Mollohan wrote to Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
“How those violations were addressed and whether MSHA sufficiently followed up to ensure that those violations were being remedied are questions that beg scrutiny.” The letter to Boehner also criticized the Bush administration for withdrawing 17 standards to improve safety and health for miners and for cutting MSHA’s budget…
Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Major Owens, D-N.Y., also called for immediate congressional hearings about the Sago tragedy…
Under the Bush administration, Miller pointed out, MSHA cut its staff by 170, from 2,357 to 2,187 people.
Seriously, folks, it’s gotten beyond ridiculous.