The Sago mine disaster was first and foremost an incredible tragedy. (I challenge you to read this story and not get a tear in your eye.) I haven’t said anything about it because in my experience most initial reports around accidents like this are exaggerated or plain wrong — and that was certainly the case in Sago.

But now that the dust is clearing a little bit, there seems to be a growing consensus that the accident was, if not the direct result, at least indirectly related to a woeful lack of enforcement on the part of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. And that, of course, has to do with the coal industry’s extraordinary friendliness with the Bush administration (though previous administrations, including Clinton’s and Bush I’s, share plenty of responsibility).

Start with today’s NYT editorial, but for details and background, check out the guest posts from Ellen Smith, the editor of Mine Safety and Health News, over on Washington Monthly: here, here, and here. ThinkProgress also has some good stuff here, here, and here.

Update [2006-1-6 14:28:57 by David Roberts]: More from Jordan Barab.

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