Monday, December 12, 2011

100 Years Ago Today: Paging Rick Perry re the Department of Energy

The Democratic Banner (Mt. Vernon, Ohio. December 12, 1911, page 1.) HUNDRED DEAD IN MINE BLAST / Briceville, Tenn., Is The Scene Of Latest Catastrophe. There had been an explosion in the Cross Mountain coal mine (near Briceville, TN) on December 9. When The Banner went to print it was still unclear exactly how many men had been in the mine when the explosion occurred and what the chances were of anyone being rescued. After several days 5 men were pulled out of the mine alive. The dead numbered 84. The Bureau of Mines, which had created May 16 1910 as a response to a number of severe mining accidents in the United States, led the rescue efforts.

According to The United States Mine Rescue Association, During the three years leading up to the establishment of the U. S. Bureau of Mines, 1907 to 1909, there were 50 coal mine disasters in which 5 or more miners were killed. Total killed - 1,773 (Historical Data on Mine Disasters in the United States.) "Bureaucrats" from that department pioneered or popularized technologies to rescue miners (including the use of canaries as a early warning of dangerous gasses and equipment for miners so that they could "self-rescue.")

In 1995 Congress closed the U. S. Bureau of Mines transferring oversight of health and safety to the Department of Energy while cutting 66% from the budgets of the various programs that were farmed out to Energy and other departments.

Yes, one of the federal departments that Rick Perry is so eager to slash is responsible for the health, safety and rescue of American miners. Maybe Governor Perry would like to explain his eagerness to cut an agency responsible for the safety of miners to the families of the 29 miners who died April 5 2010 in the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV. Maybe Governor Perry would like to explain his eagerness to the American miners who risk their lives every day.

Or maybe the names of the people who died and the mines that have become graves have slipped his mind along with the name of the Department that is responsible for their welfare.

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