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Pelosi Suggests Admin Changes Enough to Ensure Mine Safety

Judge for yourself, but in the following exchange with a reporter today, it sure seems that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is saying that the administration, through regulation and enforcement, has the power to ensure the safety of miners without Congress stepping in with new legislation.

From a press release sent along by Pelosi’s office:

Reporter: Given the enormity of the mine explosion in West Virginia and Massey Energy’s extensive record of delaying enforcement of the citations that it had received, do you think Congress needs to act to strengthen the ability to enforce mine safety standards?

Pelosi: Certainly, we have to subject the regulations and the enforcement to scrutiny to make sure that the miners are safe. That has not happened in the previous administration. The mine safety people were people out of the industry, and that has not done well.

Right now, under the Obama Administration, there has been a change, and it is much more worker and safety oriented, and we must again subject the regulations, the laws to scrutiny; but also the behavior of the mine owners and their regard or disregard of the laws and regulations to protect the miners.

It’s early in the investigative process. And so perhaps Pelosi is just being cautious here until the cause of last week’s deadly blast in West Virginia is learned. But there’s still good reason to be a bit surprised by the Speaker’s timid response: In 2006, when Congress enacted the MINER Act, Pelosi had voted against it, joining a small group of liberal Democrats who wanted much stronger reforms. They didn’t get them, and four years later 29 miners are being buried in Raleigh, County. If she was looking for a more dramatic backdrop for endorsing those stronger reforms, it’s tough to imagine what it would look like.

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