Solis Goes After Massey for Pattern of Safety Violations
This morning, it was President Obama blaming Massey Energy (among others) for not doing more to prevent last week’s deadly mining blast in West Virginia. This afternoon, it was Hilda Solis.
In an interview with MSNBC, the Labor secretary said that while all mining companies have experienced safety violations, Massey’s record indicates a particularly egregious offender.
“This particular mining group or operator has managed to kind of skirt the system and get away with making sure that they got off the bad list in time so that we would not have the ability to close them down,” Solis said. “This doesn’t typically happen in most of the other mines. There are other mines that operate with larger numbers of people and have a larger operation, but are not found in the same pattern of violation as this one mine — the Massey Upper Big Branch Mine.”
Several investigative teams this week have launched probes into the blast, which killed 29 coal miners working about 30 miles south of Charleston.
Congress is also poised to examine the nation’s mining safety laws, with lawmakers in both the House and Senate preparing hearings on the topic.
Of note, Solis — a Democrat who represented California in the House before becoming Labor secretary — voted against the 2006 MINER Act, which was the last major mining safety reform bill to become law. Those reforms, Solis thought, were too weak to prevent accidents and protect miners.