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Subject: Mining for information 

Dude,

The United States Dept of Labor is in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).  
Hilda Solis is the Secretary of the Department of Labor. She was sworn in on February 24, 2009. 

Since taking her seat at the DOL table, she has increased inspections, and increased the violations and fines
brought against mines, including Upper Big Branch Mine.  She increased staff, increased inspection, not just
in mining operations, but in enforcement of wage laws, levied the largest fine in history against BP plc for failing 
to fix safety problems following the 2005 Texas Refinery disaster and is presently enacting 90 rules and 
regulations intending to grant more power to unions and workers. 

A violation report for that mine, available online here:

http://www.msha.gov/PerformanceCoal/Violation_Summary.pdf

shows that prior to 2009, Upper Big Branch Mine violations never rose above 270 violations. 
Interesting to note, that in 2009, the violations total was 458.  Iím guess that would tell you that once
Obama took office, violations were properly reported, but prior to 2009, some violations were probably ignored.

Also, please note, in this civil penalty report:

http://www.msha.gov/PerformanceCoal/Upper%20Big%20Branch-South%20Mine%20Civil%20Penalty%20Summary.pdf

the largest penalty in 2008 was $292,466 with 197 violations cited. However, in 2009 the penalty was $897,325 
with 515 violations cited.  And I believe this was just relevant to that one mine (Upper Big Branch-South Mine), 
not the entire mine complex. This is only the section where the 29 miners died.  There are other mines in this area 
that are not cited in this report but owned by the same company.

The website itself:

http://www.msha.gov/PerformanceCoal/PerformanceCoal.asp

 contains data for Massey Energy which includes all mines owned by their company, plus additional information about mines in general.

Dee in NJ, 
 

Dee, thanks for that - but we have a lot of dead men, here.
Fines and reports are great, but why was that mine allowed to stay open?

Is this one of those deals where they're being fined $1,000 a day
but they make $50,000 a day so who cares about the daily fines?

If Solis is doing her job, those mines would be closed until they were safe.

Just my opinion...

 
 

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