Image released by South Wales Police on Thursday Sept 15 2011 of emergency workers at the scene in Gleision Colliery near Swansea, South Wales. Four workers died. (AP Photo/ Carl Ryan/South Wales Police)
Like some of you probably did, I spent part of the morning listening to the House “debate” the latest Republican effort to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from protecting public health with new air pollution rules.
Here’s some coverage from The Hill. The legislation passed 249-169, with Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., joining the Republicans in voting for it. The National Mining Association issued a statement praising passage of the bill:
The House took responsible action today against a significant threat to jobs and the economy by requiring the administration to assess the true cost of two major rulemakings before imposing them on a fragile economy and a weak job market. We urge the Senate to promptly pass the TRAIN Act.
John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council has called the legislation “the worst air pollution bill ever to reach the House floor“:
… The bill’s lengthier minimum periods of delay (15 & 19 months) would result in up to 33,450 premature deaths. The real toll likely will be much higher since the legislation allows indefinite delays in these vital public health safeguards.
While the initial version of the TRAIN Act was bad, the version the House is scheduled to vote on this week is indefensible. It will sacrifice tens of thousands of lives, pollute the air we breathe, and expose our children, families, and communities to toxic air pollutants that cause illness and developmental disorders.
If you missed it previously, I wanted to be sure to pass on this great profile of Scott Howard, the brave Kentucky coal miner who continues to stand up for his rights to a safe workplace. Dave Jamieson wrote the story (and took the photo) for The Huffington Post:
Having worked in the mines for three decades, he’s been disciplined, fired, and otherwise branded a troublemaker for speaking out about unsafe conditions. His troubles have all sprung from the simple but rigid code that he works by: He refuses to do anything that he believes may endanger himself or his fellow miners. Under the relentless pressures to produce coal, upholding such a code comes with great personal risk.
“There’s no other miner like him in the United States,” says [Howard’s lawyer Tony] Oppegard, who’s been representing Appalachian miners against coal companies for more than 20 years. “He’s done things that no one else has done.”