Tuesday, January 17, 2006

 

Who the hell wrote the mining deregulation bill?

For several days now, we have been harping about S.B 191/H.B. 400 that is one of those 'fox guarding the chicken house' bills affecting Ohio surface mineral mines.

Let's recap: These mines - surprisingly - are more dangerous than underground mines and have lead to several fatalities in recent years. Also, the lost time incident rates for Ohio's surface mines have been worse than the national average for the past five years. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is supposed to conduct quarterly inspections of each mine, but apparently the agency is so cash and staff strapped that they can only conduct a portion of the required inspections, and that been dropping off to the point to where they can only conduct 1/2 of the required inspections.

We've been asking around about who sought these changes. ODNR? The workers? Interested legislators?

No. The proponent name that keeps cropping up is the Ohio Aggregate and Industrial Mineral Association, i.e., the mine owners association, or at least 90% of them. No big surprise there, and certainly they have the same right as anyone else to lobby for legislation. But it sure seems odd that none of our public servants are raising some serious questions about this bill.

Questions like:
Not being safety and health experts, we've got a feeling that we've only begun to unearth the most obvious of the mischief the OAIMA has up it's sleeve.

When's someone going to speak up?

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