First, we don't know if the Sago Mine disaster was in any way related to any of the previous safety violations at the mine or if it was even avoidable at all. [Note that you can't link directly to the page on MSHA with previous reports about the mine. The previous link has instructions to get to that page.] Coal mining is dangerous and even with the best of the best safety precautions, accidents are going to occur. I think he should wait for an investigation before he goes blaming Nutjobs and lax enforcement for the disaster.
And what I found should not have been as disappointing to me as it was. You see, since 1994 OSHA changed dramatically in how it has undergone its enforcement authority.
Today, an OSHA inspector needs to provide PRIOR WARNING to an employer at least 24 hours before an inspection. Why? Because of GOPers such as Cass Ballenger. He headed the Employment and Workforce Committee and played a major role in deforming it in the 90s.
Where OSHA was once effective at pursuing law breakers and fining them, OSHA has now been defanged as enforcement money was earmaked for "non-enforcement" programs that would do relative harm to all those poor small businessmen Ballenger would always champion.
Because he would have seen that mine safety has continued to improve in the 11 years since the 1994 regulation changes. Fatalities in 2004 were approximately 60% of the number in 1994; fatalities in 2005 were less than half those in 1994. Even with the Sago disaster, the trends show that 2006 will probably have fewer coal mine fatalities than 1994.
Paul's post is typical partisan politics. Something bad happens, blame the other guy before we even really know what happened.
Good going, Paul. Way to help continue the trend of well-informed, nuanced political debates currently in vogue in the U.S. [In case anyone missed it, that's sarcasm.]