Stickler - can the MSHA produce an honest, report about the Crandall Canyon mine disaster with him in charge?
Richard Stickler is the man who will oversee the federal government's investigation into the disaster that has trapped six workers (3 Mexicans) in the Crandall Canyon coal mine in Utah for 15 days and in which 3 would be rescuers have died. He was appointed less than a year ago...This is what Lord Patel said at the time... Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 Bush the Infallible, the Immaculate... does he have divine guidance ?
" ....KING George has now appointed Richard Stickler to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in deliberate defiance of the Senate, which he is allowed to do without Senate approval , when Congress is out of session.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was forced to cancel a vote on Stickler's confirmation last June due the lack of Senate support for Stickler's nomination. Then in August, in an unprecedented action, the Senate returned Stickler's nomination to the White House before it went on break. Refusing to take the hint, the President renominated Stickler at the beginning of September. The Senate unamused and unmoved by this direct confrontation on their authroity again returned the nomination to the White House.
Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd have led the opposition to Stickler, citing his industry background and the lack of commitment to MSHA reform that he displayed at his confirmation hearing. The AFL-CIO, United Mine Workers of America, United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the International Brothers of Boilermakers have all called on Bush to withdraw the nomination.
Kennedy called for a new nominee:
“We are in the midst of a mine safety crisis — 58 miners have already died this year, more than any year since 2002. (See actual figs from Dep of Labour)
Thirty-eight coal miners and 20 metal/non-metal miners have died in the workplace this year which began with the tragic January 2 Sago Mine disaster in which 12 coal miners died."
On his website Senator Kennedy said of Stickler
"Mr. Stickler has spent the overwhelming part of his career as a coal ndustry executive, focused on profits and production, not on worker safety. In fact, mines where he was in charge had injury rates far above the national average.... During his tenure as head of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety, he was well known for granting exceptions from safety rules for mining companies. He even bent critical rules designed to prevent mine fires on conveyor belts and to guarantee that miners could reach safe places to protect
themselves from runaway railcars......
...... read on at the website how mining company interests were protected
Bush as ever , was not listening. His nominee, with an appalling record of overseeing mines with incredibly poor safety records stood for nothing.. nobody was going to tell George Bush what to do. Fuck the Senate - they only represent the people. It was a dialogue of the deaf on his side.
Read more here by Max Follmer at Huffington Post August 15th " Mine Safety Czar Richard Stickler: Another Bush Fox Guarding the Henhouse "
Liberal Avenger also reminds us that it is a company Murray Energy Corp,(36 mines onlyone unionised - with UMW) run by Robert Murray that operates the mine that collapsed in Utah (he purchased it in August).The safety record of his mines is abysmal, by spreading money around Washington, he was able to continue operating mines that repeatedly violated safety regulations
Murray is a man with a lot of political influence and as Tim Thompson has found out, now an ex district manager for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, a lot of clout which he has been happy to use to obtain his removal from the MSHA.
Facing Thompson at a meeting in Morgantown.Va. Murray said...“Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last time I checked he was sleeping with your boss,” ... referring to the senior GOP senator from Kentucky. The quote was repeated in an Oct. 2006 Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader article on McConnell’s political influence.
McConnell - the Republican leader in the Senate - is married to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who oversees MSHA, has an MBA from Harvard, the first Kentuckian in the President's Cabinet since 1945, and the first Asian nominated by George Bush and has more honorary degrees than you can shake a stick at.
The Obfuscation Report posts .... "Murray's mines produce more than 20 million tons of coal annually ( UK will produce approx 40 Mn. tonnes this year) , according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. His companies include Ohio Valley Coal Co., Maple Creek Mining, Inc., KenAmerican Resources, Inc., American Coal Co. and PennAmerican Coal.
Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake Tribune reported this week that Murray's Galatia mine in southern Illinois has racked up 2,787 violations over the past two years. MSHA has proposed more than $2.4 million in fines at Galatia, according to Gehrke's reporting. (Murray routinely challenges government fines and many are now on appeal. He has paid $588,000 and is delinquent to date on $116,000. Of those, 660 violations were considered significant and substantial, meaning the hazard could "result in an injury or illness of a reasonably serious nature." MSHA issued 94 orders requiring safety issues to be fixed immediately.
Another Murray-owned company - Ken American Resources - and four of its top employees were convicted in a federal court in Kentucky of conspiring to violate federal mine safety rules. 4 mine officials were convicted of 10 counts of illegally using improper ventilation, using two continuous mining machines and lying to federal investigators about the practice. KenAmerican was ordered to pay a $306,000 fine.
A judge later threw out part of the verdict, but the company was ordered to pay $306,000 in fines, an amount federal prosecutors considered too lenient. "
See also his early history from the UMWA files. Promises Made, Promises Broken - Exposing the Real Robert Murray
Alicia Colon in the New York Sun April 3rd 2007 in an article "A CEO with Spine"
quotes his testimony on March 20 before the House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, titled "Toward a Clean Energy Future: Energy Policy and Climate Change on Public Lands."
" America is dependent on our coal because it is abundant, with some of our best deposits located on public lands; it is affordable; and it is critical to our energy security to protect all Americans from the hostile and unstable governments from which much of our country's energy is currently imported."
He may have a bad record on mine safety, but he knows where that thar coal is.... anyone taking bets that he doesn't get his hands on it, the same way as as the loggers in Oregon ?
Government mine inspectors have issued 325 citations against the Utah mine since January 2004, according to Federal MSHA online records. Of those, 116 were what the government considered "significant and substantial," meaning they are likely to cause injury.
Murray testified in June this year in a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Challenged on his safety record by the feisty Californian heavy user of the lip gloss industry, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. he retorted "My employees are important to me and I take their safety to bed every night," Murray said. He wagged his finger at his carefully coiffured tormentor , "My safety record today is one of the best in the coal industry."
Hands up thos who think Stickler is going to say any different.