Monday, January 28, 2008

Not a Reassuring Story

Via the AP:

The federal agency that regulates the nation's mining industry says it has failed to penalize mine operators for thousands of citations issued since 2000, and the oversight could extend back more than a decade.

"And we would guess it goes back far beyond 1995, but because of a lack of electronic records before that year, I can't verify that," Matthew Faraci, spokesman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said Sunday. "Given that this seems to have been an endemic problem that has been with the agency for quite some time, the part that we're optimistic about is that we know about it and are working to fix it."

From the piece, it appears that MSHA is starting to turn things around under new leadership, but there's undoubtedly still a ways to go before the agency becomes truly effective.  For example, as of the beginning of this month MSHA's five-member review commission was operating with two members and could not decide cases.  Of course, that specific problem is not the agency's fault; it's the President's and the Senate's fault.

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