$22 Million in Mine Safety Funding Included in “Emergency” War Supplemental

By: Wednesday July 28, 2010 11:07 am

When the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted again to authorize billions for the failed war in Afghanistan last night, there was no relief for 300,000 teachers facing cuts as the House originally wanted. But there was apparently room for some money for working people: included in the bill was $22 million in mine safety funding. This money will help alleviate a “backlog of more than 17,000 cases involving mine operator appeals of safety and health violations,” according to the House Education and Labor Committee.

Danse Macabre: The Republicans, the corporate lobbyists, and the ghosts of dead coal miners

By: Thursday July 15, 2010 11:42 am

There seemed to be an otherworldly presence in the hearing room Tuesday when a Congressional committee began formal consideration of new coal mine safety legislation.

I was physically far away, watching on C-SPAN, so I couldn’t tell whether the unseen spirits were the ghosts of the 29 miners killed three months ago in a preventable explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia — or the malignant aura of corporate power that seems to haunt the halls of Congress.

Massey Energy’s Bogus Employee Safety Survey

By: Wednesday July 14, 2010 2:46 pm

After yesterday’s hearing on new mine and workplace safety legislation in the House – legislation necessary because of the negligence of Don Blankenship’s Massey Energy in the deaths of 29 miners earlier this year – Massey Energy’s press office made a funny.

In order to combat the clear evidence that Massey puts profits over worker safety, the coal company thought it would be a good idea to show just how supportive miners are of the company’s record. Massey claims 97% of its coal miners believe safety is important to the company.

Can Congress (finally) Get Coal Mine Safety Right?

By: Monday July 12, 2010 4:45 pm

Tomorrow afternoon, Congress will once again take up new legislative proposals to improve coal mine safety. After decades of repeated mining disasters, countless unnecessary deaths and injuries, and continual demands for remedial action, can Congress finally get mining safety legislation right? The outward signs are not encouraging.

Massey Energy Sues MSHA, Claiming Regulator “Violated Its Constitutional Rights”

By: Wednesday June 23, 2010 2:25 pm

This takes some stones. Massey Energy, whose mine explosion in West Virginia in April killed 29 people, has decided to sue the Mine Safety and Health Administration, along with three of its regulators, over MSHA’s denial of Massey’s preferred mine ventilation plans.

Massey’s lawsuit says that federal law didn’t allow the company to challenge MSHA’s requirements, saying such a restriction “violated its constitutional rights,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Like Coal Miners, Offshore Oil Rig Workers Weather Huge Risks for Middle Class Salaries

By: Wednesday May 19, 2010 4:51 pm

The LA Times has an interesting portrait of the survivors of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico – the topic that has distracted me from keeping up with content over here at Work in Progress – about the risks of their jobs.

The conversations with offshore oil workers seem remarkably similar to those with coal miners. The risky work environment brings with it a lucrative paycheck, for far more pay than these workers could make working on land. At the same time, workers know every day they’re out in the middle of the ocean, dealing with potentially explosive materials that can put their lives at risk at any moment.

Video: President Obama Speaks on Initial Mine Explosion Report, Calls Out Massey Energy

By: Thursday April 15, 2010 2:35 pm

President Obama spoke this morning on the initial report from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Mine Safety administrator Joe Main on what happened at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Obama notably called out “safety violators like Massey Energy” and specifically singled out the pattern of Massey and other mine operators to appeal violations to avoid [...]

The 48 Most Dangerous Mines in America

By: Thursday April 15, 2010 9:56 am

Rep. George Miller released the list of the 48 most dangerous mines in America. These are the mines that have the most outstanding health and safety violations contested by the mine owners. Had the mines not contested these penalties, they likely would receive “pattern of violation” notices that would accelerate the Mine Safety and Health [...]

Obama Refocusing His Attention on Mine Collapse, will Speak at 1:20pm

By: Friday April 9, 2010 12:11 pm

President Obama will speak about the Montcoal mine explosion at 1:20 this afternoon after a week of increasing scrutiny into the mine’s safety record and the negligence of Massey CEO Don Blankenship. Yesterday he requested a initial assessment from the Department of Labor into what went wrong.

25 Dead in Massey Energy Mine Explosion; Worst Mine Disaster in 25 Years

By: Tuesday April 6, 2010 9:41 am

The situation in Whitesville, West Virginia rapidly deteriorated overnight. The death toll at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine jumped to 25 miners, with four still missing, making it the deadliest mining disaster in 25 years.

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