Massey Trying to Kill Mining Reforms Before They’re Even Proposed
Friday, June 04, 2010 at 11:23 am
Lawmakers have only hinted at reforms to the nation’s mine safety laws in the wake of April’s deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch in West Virginia. But Massey Energy, which owns the UBB, seems not to be taking any chances.
The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. reports that the Virginia-based coal giant has already hired a PR firm, which is lobbying lawmakers not to enact any reform legislation before the UBB investigation is complete — “which could be a year or more from now,” Ward notes dryly.
Indeed, investigators finally got into the mine on Wednesday for a few hours, but their plans to return today were thwarted by a drilling problem, pushing that re-entry to next week.
Ward notes that the PR firm, Public Strategies, is distributing copies of this recent editorial in the Charleston Daily Mail, which urges Congress not to pass reforms just for the sake of passing reforms.
Congress should wait until the investigation is complete before rushing headlong into changes that might not help and might even hinder mine safety. Whatever new legislation or regulation Congress pursues should be based on mining safety and miner health — not just on the commendable impulse to “do something.”
On its website, Public Strategies boasts that it can help “transform corporate reputation into competitive advantage.” Considering Massey’s reputation, it has its work cut out.
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