Tomblin campaign: Mine safety bill ‘tough, but fair’

October 2, 2012 by Ken Ward Jr.

We’ve written before here on Coal Tattoo about Republican Bill Maloney’s efforts to lobby the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration against tougher new regulations on his own business. And now, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s re-election campaign is using that lobby effort in an ad against Maloney.

Here’s the ad:

But what’s most interesting here is how the Tomblin administration’s description of what its mine safety bill was — and what the governor’s commitment to miner health and safety really is — continues to change. In this ad, the legislation is described as a “tough, but fair” compromise the governor worked out by sitting down with members of both parties. Well … that’s not exactly how I remember it. Seems to me that the bill was significantly weakened at the behest of the coal industry’s lobbyists.

Let’s recall that, after the release of the McAteer team’s report on the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, Gov. Tomblin made a pretty sweeping statement:

Today is no doubt another difficult day for the family and friends of the brave men we lost on the afternoon of April 5, 2010. I hope that the Report will bring some closure to their families. They and all West Virginians have my commitment that we will do all we can to make sure that a disaster like this never happens again.

The commitment kept changing though, as we discussed before here: From “do all we can” to “all that is necessary” to prevent another UBB to “meaningful” legislation to a bill that “will not only make our coal mines safer, but save lives.” We’ve been over and over the weaknesses in this legislation. Go back to here, here, here, here and here if you need reminding.

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