Bush Administration Packed with Coal-Friendly Bureaucrats

In his 2000 campaign, George W. Bush promised to make coal central to his energy plan, and he was rewarded with millions of dollars in donations from the coal industry and the votes of coal miners in crucial swing states. Upon taking office, Bush appointed several coal executives and lobbyists to positions overseeing the industry; one, coal executive David Lauriski, was installed as head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Under Lauriski, that agency has rescinded more than a half dozen mining safety regulations, and his latest proposal would allow the amount of coal dust in mines to rise substantially and would allow mining companies to equip miners with respirator helmets as a substitute for dust-lowering measures. Breathing coal dust causes “black lung” disease, and the measure is opposed by mine-worker unions, members of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a federal panel that studied the issue in 1996, senators from both parties, and, no kidding, the company that makes the helmets.