January 06, 2006

Bush Administration In Bed with Mining Corporations

In light of the Sago mine tragedy, here is a story of Bush cronyism and coverup of another awful mining story.

Thanks to Hume's Ghost, my friend over at The Daily Doubter, here is a story (from Salon) I missed.

I suspect that alot Americans missed this story, and that most Americans have no idea how the Bush administration is intimately in bed with the mining businesses and has covered their criminal and irreponsible behaviors.

It's a story about one of the nation's worst environmental disasters and how the Bush administration worked to minimize consequences for the mining corporation responsible. Specifically, Salon describes it this way:

...the nation's largest coal slurry spill at the Martin County Coal Company in Inez, Ky., on Oct. 11, 2000.... The EPA called the Inez spill the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States. Far more extensive in damage than the widely known 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska, the Martin County Coal slurry spill dumped an estimated 306 million gallons of toxic sludge down 100 miles of waterways.

The story describes how the Bush administration took over the investigation in early 2001, threatened the original investigator, Jack Spadaro, with firing, and finally issued a report and fines that were an embarrassment and obvious coverup.

Jack Spadaro, now an independent investigator and mine safety activitist, has his own website and he says this about his experience with the Bush administration investigation of this catastrophe:

"I had never seen anything so corrupt and lawless in my entire career as what I saw regarding interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern United States," on CBS 60 Minutes, April 4, 2004

Spadaro's website is a goldmine (no pun intended) of information about the mining business and its cosy relationship with the Bush administration.


Newsguy said...

I can't decide if I am surprised at the corruption and the incredibly cynical manipulation of the system in favor of the rich and powerful by Bush and Co., or if I am not surprised. I stare in wonderment at this government, actually curious how any thinking human being could justify in his own mind the utter despoilation of the planet, the arrogant abuse of people and the environment for profit. Money is everything to these cold creatures.

I have a theory that they are actually from some other planet, not actually members of the human species at all.

derailuer said...

cool blog. thanks for sharing

nightquill said...

I am astonished (should I be?) that I'd never even heard of the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern US. I like to believe that some of these omissions are more a matter of laziness and herd mentality in the
press, rather than something more sinister. After all, it's hard to imagine that the Valdez disaster was any more or less something that those in power would have liked to keep quiet. What do you think?

Hume's Ghost said...

The press doesn't do environment. That's pretty much it. Bush is most likely the worst environmental president in our history.

Pick up a book like Robert Devine's Bush versus the Environment, and you will see that everything wrong with this administration is exemplified by its approach to the environment. Dishonesty, cronysim, disregard for the law, fact fixing, etc. Its all there.

Hume's Ghost said...

And regarding the Valdez, I'm not sure why that got more press. Perhaps it was a sexier story, perhaps it was higher profile. But even so, there was stuff the press left out. For instance, oil is STILL being scrubbed from Prince William Sound.

Getting more controversial, according to Greg Palast the reason the Valdez crashed was because Exxon decided it was cheaper to leave the ship's radar system off and broken rather than fix it and keep it on. They were also supposed to have spill containment equipment on hand or nearby, which they did not.

Palast also writes that the 5 billion damages charge was never paid by Exxonn and was instead in 2001 replaced by a 50 million dollar fine which was covered by their insurance.


As far as I know, Exxonn got off, much like Massey Energy did in the Inez, Kt. coal slurry spill.