In case you were wondering how long it would take Democrats to blame George W. Bush for the deaths of the coal miners in West Virginia, the answer is, predictably, a matter of minutes. No word yet on Mama D’s next press conference telling us how Bush blew up the mine like he did the levees in New Orleans.
From today’s Boston Globe story,
Jubilation, then horror
Democrats say the Bush administration’s enforcement of mining safety and environmental regulations must come under scrutiny. The administration has called for cuts to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the agency has shed about 120 coal-industry enforcement jobs since 2002, according to statistics compiled by Democratic congressional aides.
After President Bush took office in 2001, the administration pulled back a series of regulations proposed under President Clinton, including the requirement to upgrade miners’ emergency respiratory devices and to add more mine rescue teams.
Three years ago, the White House wanted to increase the legal level of breathable dust that miners could be exposed to, but it backed away in the face of congressional opposition. And Democrats have criticized Bush administration officials for going after relatively small fines against offenders; of the 208 citations issued at Sago Mine, nearly half carried the minimum fine of $60, and none amounted to more than $900.
Aside from the naked partisanship, does anything jump out at you in this exerpt? The adminsitration “pulled back a series of regulations proposed under President Clinton”. Hmmmm, that seems to ring a bell…regulations proposed by Clinton…hmmm…they weren’t inacted, only proposed. . Hmmm….
This wouldn’t have been during his pathetic final hours in office would it? You remember don’t you? Clinton spent his final evening in office pardoning international cocaine dealers and billionaire tax cheat Marc Rich, wife of Clinton crony Denise Rich. What else was Clinton busy doing? He was rewriting numerous environmental regulations in his final hours because he knew the new administration, the Bush administration, would have to reverse them upon taking office. It was a parting political gift for the limping Democrat party he and his cigar left behind.
Remember one of the first kerfuffles of the Bush administration? He wanted to increase the amount of aresenic in our water supply, allegedly. The enviro wackos went nuts, Democrats said it was a sign of his awful enviro policies. Well, we soon learned that the standard that had been in place for years, 50 parts per billion, was lowered by Clinton on his final night in office, to 10 parts per billion. Bush didn’t actually want to have more arsenic in our water, he simply wanted to maintain the 50 parts per billion standard that had stood for years, until the final evening of the Clinton administration. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the LA Times,
WASHINGTON–EPA Administrator Christie Whitman on Tuesday rescinded a Clinton administration decision that would have significantly reduced the amount of arsenic allowed in the nation’s drinking water.
Outraged environmentalists said the move, combined with other recent actions, signals a new tendency by Bush administration officials to appease industry rather than safeguard public health and the environment. Current regulations allow arsenic at a level of 50 parts per billion in tap water.
The Clinton administration ruling lowered that level significantly, to 10 parts per billion. Congress required the EPA to set a new standard for arsenic in tap water in 1996, but the Clinton administration issued its ruling in the last days of the administration, along with a flurry of other eleventh-hour rule changes.
I wonder how many of these “eleventh-hour rule changes” had to do with regulation of coal mines?
FACTS ON MINE SAFETY
Coal mine production reached the highest levels in history in recent years. In 2004 coal mining fatalities were near the lowest level in history with 28. Even with the recent high production, MSHAâ??s accident reduction efforts helped to keep the annual fatality totals nearly 50% lower in recent years compared with totals recorded in the early 1990s.
1. Clinton’s last year in office, 2000, there were 48 deaths in coal mines. In 2004, there were 28
2. The injury rate in 2000 was 6.64, in 2004 it was 5.00
3. Citations for safety violations in 2000: 58,285; Citations for violations in 2004: 64,635 (this would indicate to me more rigorous enforcement under Bush, especially after having cut back on coal industry enforcement jobs as the Democrats claim. Sounds to me like the Clinton administration was asleep at the switch)
The moral of the story….Democrats cannot be trusted. Democrats are all about partisan politics. Democrats have ZERO agenda for America. Democrats will continue to blame George Bush for everything that goes wrong in this country. He will get credit for nothing. He could cure cancer tomorrow and they would criticize him for taking too long, or for ignoring AIDS because he is hostile to gays.
Sometimes this stuff is just stupid partisan politics, and other times it just pisses me off. This is one of those ‘other’ times.
UPDATE: Here is what the Daily Kos is running with,
The Republican Mine Disaster: Blood on their Hands