Contrary to media coverage, the Utah mine collapse was no accident — rather a foreseeable consequence of greedy and corrupt practices which sacrificed the safety of these miners to maximize profit. The receipt of more than 325 safety violations since January 2004 provides a concrete example of the mine owners' disregard for safety.
After giving Republican candidates more than $155,000 since 2005, mine co-owner Bob Murray ranted to Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors, "Mitch McConnell calls me one of the top five finest men in America, and the last I checked, he was sleeping with your boss." The manager of MSHA, which is headed by McConnell's wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was then relocated. President Bush has appointed ex-mine executives to top positions within the MSHA who have greatly reduced the enforcement of safety regulations. Democrats and Republicans promised to strengthen mine safety standards after the Sago Mine tragedy. Instead, these lawmakers passed a bill with minimal standards that owners like Murray have not followed and Bush nominees have not enforced. The greed of the mine owners and the corruption at the highest levels of our government have led to the collapse of the Utah mine.