Shortly after Bush became president, the head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, Dave Lauriski, stepped down. Lauriski had spent his entire career working for coal companies. As his interim replacement, Bush appointed David Dye, who’d only joined the MSHA six months earlier.

On Tuesday, Congress will hold confirmation hearings on Richard Stickler, Bush’s nominee for new permanent MSHA head. Stickler too has been a coal-industry man his entire career, principally at Bethlehem Steel — where, between 1980 and 1992, 13 miners died in coal operations. Three of those miners died at mines directly managed by Stickler.

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Last week, the United Mine Workers asked Bush to withdraw Stickler’s nomination. It didn’t happen.

Looks like the Sago tragedy hasn’t made the feds any tougher on the coal industry.

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