Entry for January 30, 2006

Sadly, as I was leaving the house this morning, Misty called me over and told me that Juanity died this morning.

The illustration, again  from the terrific Rob Rogers , is copyright 2006 Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Just found out that CNN has transcripts, especially of Anderson Cooper’s coverage.  What struck me the most, other than the voices of the miners’ families, is how the industry tried to minimize this.  Take the Tom Foreman interview aired January 3.   Bruce Watzman of the National Mining Association, ” the voice of the American mining industry in Washington, D.C.”, the “only national trade organization that represents the interests of mining before Congress, the Administration, federal agencies, the judiciary and the media. 

Asked by Foreman, “in making a quick review of these violations, you don’t see anything there that leaps out at you as endangering miners’ lives?”  Watzman says “They could be paperwork errors, they could be reporting errors. A lot of violations, but many of which were not significant to really impact minor safety.” 

Contrast this assessment with former MSHA official Davitt McAteer.  He told Ken Ward, Jr. in a January 3, 2006 story in the Charleston Gazette, “Sago mine has history of roof falls”,”The numbers don’t sound good….[they are] sufficiently high that it should tip off management that there is something amiss here. For a small operation, that is a significant number of violations.” McAteer said the roof fall frequency “suggests that the roof is bad and that the support system is not meeting the needs of the roof.”

McAteer also told Christian Science Monitor reporters Mark Clayton and Amanda Paulson for their January 6,  story, “Sago raises red flags for mine oversight”, “If you have a widespread practice of S&S violations over an extended period of time like we have here, it suggests that you’ve got much more serious problems than just paperwork violations.”

To read the transcript of interviews with those miners’ families, as well as folks from Quecreek and from the 2001 Alabama disaster, see  Hope and Heartbreak: Inside the Sago Mine Tragedy; Chronology Of Events Before, During And After Sago Mine Disaster   I am working on using some of these for my poem for VE, which I’d better finish tonight.

FYI, discovered  Tailrank, a  blog aggregator today. 

 

 

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