Monday, March 09, 2009

Coalfield daily says Ky. bills would cut mine safety

The Harlan Daily Enterprise, in a county synonymous with coal, sees as "wrong-headed" two bills on mine safety in the Kentucky General Assembly, now in the closing days of its short, odd-year session.

The Heartland Publications paper, once part of the New York Times Co., criticizes a House bill that would decrease from two to one the required number of medical personnel on duty at those mines with fewer than 18 employees, and Senate bills that would deregulate continuous operation of ventilation fans and decrease the annual number of state inspections at each mine.

“The coal industry already makes a hefty profit on the backs — and, far too often, the blood — of its employees. To sacrifice important safety measures for the sake of saving a few dollars for coal companies or the state government is simply unconscionable,” the editorial said. It notes that Harlan County was "the epicenter of a string of mining tragedies in Kentucky that rightfully resulted in a renewed focus on mine safety. It seems that the further we get from those tragic losses, however, the more legislators and coal operators we find seeking a return to the status quo." Read more.

No comments: