|Sweeping mine-safety legislation was proposed in the wake of the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, W.Va. The mining industry doubled up on its political contributions to members of Congress, and an amended bill ultimately failed by a House vote on Dec. 8, 2010. At least 144 members who voted against the bill received mining industry money, including two members who supported an earlier version.|
Some Alabama politician's votes are cheaper than others in the monetary sense, but the real cost of their selling out to the mining industry cannot be easily measured. What price do you put on a human life?
No one will forget what happened to 29 men last April in Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch (UBB) in Montcoal, West Virginia. Despite repeated safety violations spanning years, Massey was still in business. Risky business that was well-known to the MSHA, EPA, Congress and the men and their families who worked the UBB.
It was a disaster waiting to happen and it did. With tragic results.
It's been a little over a year since 29 men died in that preventable tragedy and the families of those men say that Congress has failed them by not passing bills to increase regulatory oversight on coal mining with provisions to protect whistleblowers from retribution.
Included in the bills was a measure to disallow mining companies to hide behind the well-worn tactic of delaying compliance through lengthy legal appeal maneuvers.
"Don't let this happen again" plead the families of those miners when President Obama delivered a eulogy at a memorial service last year for the dead miners. The president echoed that statement.
The entire nation agreed.
But some members of Congress weren't listening to those pleas, instead they were lending their tin ears to the industry lobbyists and willingly held out their greedy paws for big coal's vote buying blood money to defeat these needed reforms.
Which upright bastions of principles in Alabama partook in this corruption and for how much?
Let's have a look:
- Representative Spencer Bachus-R $25.000
- Representative Mike D. Rogers-R $13,050
- Representative Griffith Parker-R $9,500
- Representative Roger Aderholt-R $6,500
- Representative Bobby Bright-D $5,000
- Representative Jo Bonner-R $4,000
- Representative Artur Davis-D $1,000
So, what price is there on the life of a coal miner according to these
Obviously far too little.