Enviroweb is the blog by a aquatic and environmental scientist Eugene Macri on all aspects of the environment,science, ecology, health, educational science and the politics involved. ©2006 All Rights Reserved E. Macri. Permission to reprint or use electronically as long as credit is given and we are notified.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mining Industry Owns America and Congress

Six miners may have perished in Utah and the blood is on the hands of everyone from the owner of the mine, Bob Murray, Congress and the whores in the Whitehouse- Cheney and Bush. The mining industry basically owns America. They have destroyed and wrecked havoc on the environment for over a hundred years. Their political influence is second to none and what happened in Utah is symbolic of what is done across America. In Pennsylvania the mining industry basically runs portions of the Department of Environmental Protection and they are actually treated like clients by the state while people who object to the permits are treated like enemies.

Pennsylvania has more miles of damaged streams due to mining than any other state in the nation. The state issues permits to mine that third world nations would not allow. The number of world class trout streams that have been destroyed my AMD (acid mine drainage) is beyond anyone’s wildest nightmares

I should know because I work in many of those streams and few live again no matter what treatment is used and these treatments are unbelievably expensive. But the environment is the least of the mining industries worries. They don’t even care about the lives of their workers. The mining industry basically owns the government agencies at both the state and federal level. They are so brazen about it that they threaten the people from the federal government who are supposed to oversee them.

Murray is a prime example of such intimidation. The following is taken from

West Virginia Public Radio Broadcast Notes. The reporter’s names are cited below:

(http://www.wvpubcast.org/radio/newsroom/Murray0808.pdf)

Utah operator’s mines, politics have attracted attention before - 08/08/07

By Greg Collard and Scott Finn

The owner of the Utah coal mine where six men are trapped went on the defensive yesterday.

Bob Murray is upset at media reports that question his company’s safety record, and whether and earthquake is responsible for the miners being trapped. Murray singled out the Associated Press and Fox News for the sources they used, including

Davitt McAtteer of Shepherdstown.

Murray has been the subject of media scrutiny before for how he runs his mines, his political

contributions and his threats to use his political influence to retaliate against mine safety inspectors.

In 2003, WV Public Radio aired a series of reports on mine safety, some of which included

Murray. Greg Collard reports.

Greg Collard: In 2001, a belt foreman named Tom Ciszewski had his arm ripped off by a conveyor belt at

Ohio Valley Coal’s Powhatan No. 6 mine in Belmont County, Ohio. He bled to death.

Later, a belt repairman testified that Robert Murray pressured miners not to shut down the belt,“unless there’s a man it,” and that he would fire them on the spot.

A judge ruled the company was not negligent.

But problems at the mine continued.

Eventually, MSHA ordered the mine to shut down after repeated violations.

Murray had enough.

He was upset at MSHA’s action, and met with Tim Thompson, then the head of MSHA’s District 3 office that covers a portion of Ohio and northern West Virginia.

Back in 2003, Jeff Young of West Virginia Public Broadcasting obtained the notes from the meeting:

Jeff Young 2003 report: Those notes show Murray repeatedly threatening to have MSHA employees fired. ‘I will have your jobs. They are gone. The clock is ticking,” Murray said at various points. And he stressed his political influence with the agency, saying, “I talked to Laresky (former MSHA
director) personally,” and again, quoting, “Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last I checked he was sleeping with your boss.’

Sen. McConnell of KY is married to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who oversees MSHA.

Collard: Notes from another meeting show Murray bragged about getting two inspectors in Pennsylvania demoted, and promised to do the same in the agency’s District 3 office.

Jeff Young 2003 report: The notes show Murray warned that an inspector in that district would “be riding a desk somewhere, like that guy in Pennsylvania,” and again quoting, “If Thompson doesn’t get his ass in gear, I’ll put him in my sites, too.”

Collard: Tim Thompson was removed as head of District 3 a few months later. MSHA officials said Thompson’s reassignment had nothing to do with Murray. But Murray’s strong financial ties to republicans in Congress and the Bush Administration raised questions at the time. Those financial ties have continued to grow. Murray, his son and his company’s political action committees have contributed more than $600,000 to Pres. Bush and mostly Republican candidates for Congress in the last decade.

Bob Murray at press conference: “Quite obviously in reporting your stories, your producers and you journalists attempt to seek out individuals…

Collard: On Tuesday, Murray lashed out at reports on the higher death rates associated with retreat mining, the type of mine used at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah.

Murray: “Specifically, I’m referring to statements that you have sought out from Mr. J. Davitt McAteer, Tony Oppegard, Dennis O’Dell, and President Cecil Roberts – the last two of the United Mine Workers. Collard: McAteer is a former head of MSHA who was Governor Manchin’s special investigator into the Sago and Aracoma mine disasters. Both McAtteer and the UMWA declined to comment on Murray’s

comments, saying the focus needs to be on rescuing the miners.

But Ellen Smith, the publisher of Mine Safety and Health News, says Murray’s comments were unfair to McAteer.

Ellen Smith: “I think Davitt McAteer has been very fair to Mr. Murray in this case. I mean even Mr. McAteer said that that mine in his book wasn’t overly unsafe, or it didn’t raise red flags to him.”

Collard: Smith says she agrees the Crandall Canyon mine appears to have a decent safety record, but some of Murray’s mines do not. Smith: “It’s quite the coincidence in our July 30th issue, we reported on a mine called the Galatia mine in Illinois, and it raised red flags because of the amount of fines that this company has had since the beginning of the year, and it’s accumulated over $1 million in MSHA civil penalties just since April 30th. I don’t quite recall ever seeing something quite so high in my career.”

Collard: Smith also says that Murray’s Powhatan mine in Belmont County, Ohio, continues to have serious safety problems. In the last three years, the mine has racked up more than 900 serious and substantial safety violations, according to the MSHA Web site. This is the same mine where Tom Ciszewski died.

For West Virginia Public Broadcasting, I’m Greg Collard, in Charleston.


What occurred here is typical of how powerful the mining industry is, and the simple fact that they do not fear any recourse for their unsafe mines and destructive environmental damage. They already own whores like Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife the Secretary of Labor. This whoredom goes all the way to the Whitehouse. Tomorrow will be another day and the mining industry will operate just like it always has. The environment will be raped and somewhere more miners are working under unsafe conditions which could kill them but no one will care and no one will stop the mining industry from doing just as they please.

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