Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mining for the Truth About Sago

There should be public outcry about this. Workers' lives are more important than protecting corporations. I hope someone reminds President Bush this the next time he shows up at a West Virginia coal mine for a photo opportunity.

The country has just witnessed a terrible mine tragedy, but surviving miners and their families, the media, or any citizen, for that matter, will probably not be able to get much information from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) about what went wrong at the Sago mine in West Virginia.

There will be some information available, but for anyone looking to delve into what really happened on Jan. 2, the full details of that day or of what happened in the months preceding the mine disaster may never be brought to light. This is because, under the Bush administration, things are different when it comes to getting information from MSHA.

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), miners and their families, mine operators, reporters and concerned citizens were once able to obtain factual information while an accident investigation was in progress. In the pre-Bush MSHA, which includes the administrations of Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, "matters of record" were made public during accident investigations. This information -- including witness interviews, laboratory results, MSHA-approved mine plans, inspectors' notes and inspection memos from before the accident -- is important. You can't avert a mine tragedy in the future if you don't know what went wrong in the past.



Blogger Moulton said...

When people cry out for succor and redemption, they don't cry out to government. They cry out to their deity.

January 15, 2006  

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