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Offlinephi1618
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Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe
    #2526886 - 04/05/04 10:38 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

This is from an article on salon.com:
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/11/13/slurry_coverup/index1.html
Quote:


Dirty business
How Bush and his coal industry cronies are covering up one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Phillip Babich


Nov. 13, 2003 | INEZ, Ky. -- There aren't many people in the United States who have as much experience with rock-and-earth dams and coal slurry impoundments as Jack Spadaro, a distinguished mining engineer who's been working in federal regulatory agencies for almost 30 years. That's why he was selected to be one of eight members of an accident investigation team to determine the causes of the nation's largest coal slurry spill at the Martin County Coal Company in Inez, Kt., on Oct. 11, 2000.

A coal slurry impoundment is a reservoir of thick liquid waste from coal processing that is constructed by damming the mouth of a valley with rock and earth. To residents living near these impoundments, they are disasters waiting to happen. The EPA called the Inez spill the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States. Far more extensive in damage than the widely known 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska, the Martin County Coal slurry spill dumped an estimated 306 million gallons of toxic sludge down 100 miles of waterways.

Jack Spadaro has made it his life's work to figure out why these spills happen and how to stop them. But right now he is awaiting final word from officials at the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a wing of the U.S. Department of Labor that is a lead regulatory agency for the coal industry, as to whether he will retain his job as the superintendent of the National Mine Safety and Health Academy, MSHA's training facility. His superiors are accusing him of a raft of misbehaviors -- including "abusing his authority" and "failing to follow instructions." But as far as he's concerned, the reason he's facing dismissal is very simple: He's been in hot water since January 2001 -- when Bush administration officials took control of the Martin County Coal investigation.

Before the change in political administration, Spadaro and his teammates had been uncovering information that had far-reaching implications for both Massey Energy (the parent company of Martin County Coal and a major contributor to the Republican Party) and the coal industry as a whole. Testimony and documents revealed that executives at Martin County Coal and federal regulators were aware that there was potential for a catastrophic failure at the slurry impoundment but didn't take proper actions to avoid it. In particular, an MSHA engineer had made a list of specific safety recommendations to Martin County Coal and MSHA district officials following a 100-million gallon spill in May 1994. But MSHA and Martin not only largely ignored the recommendations, MSHA actually allowed Martin to add coal waste to its impoundment.

By the end of 2000, Spadaro and other investigation team members felt they were beginning to collect enough evidence to issue Massey Energy citations for willful and criminal negligence. In addition, it looked as though their own agency, MSHA, was going to be held accountable as well. But that all changed when George W. Bush moved into the White House. Within days of Bush's inauguration a new team leader was brought in to head the Martin County Coal investigation. The scope of the investigation was dramatically narrowed -- offering yet another dramatic example of how the wholesale takeover of the White House by the energy industry is having a real impact on real lives, not just on the whistle-blowers like Jack Spadaro but on the people he's trying to protect.

On April 3, 2001, Spadaro tendered his resignation from the accident investigation team and filed a complaint with the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General, alleging that Bush administration officials were obstructing the team's work. Spadaro also spoke out publicly when MSHA released its final accident investigation report in October 2002, which cited Martin County Coal for two minor violations with fines totaling $110,000, and left MSHA district officials completely off the hook.

Spadaro was placed on administrative leave -- often a bureaucratic precursor to job termination -- on June 4, 2003. He was called away on business to Washington, D.C., that day and federal officials took the opportunity to raid his Beckley, W.V. office. They searched through his personal belongings, dismantled the frame of a family portrait to look behind the photograph, and changed the locks. Officials in D.C. questioned him about providing free academy housing to an instructor who had multiple sclerosis. Spadaro says he was dumbfounded by the questions since MSHA officials, including some of his questioners, were aware of the arrangement, which was, in any case, within Spadaro's authority to grant.

Spadaro could be terminated any day. The apparent vendetta against him, and a mass of other evidence including damning off-the-record comments by officials involved in the investigation and a heavily-redacted report, raise serious questions as to whether Bush administration officials, ranging from mining safety officials all the way to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, orchestrated a coverup to whitewash Martin County Coal of any serious responsibility for the coal slurry disaster.

There are about 700 slurry impoundments in the United States. Nearly 200 of them are built over underground mines, as is the Martin County Coal impoundment. Plans for building one of the biggest slurry impoundments ever constructed are also under way.

These waste facilities, though little known, have one of the greatest potentials for catastrophic environmental disaster in the country.

On Feb. 26, 1972, a slurry dam gave way at the Buffalo Mining Company in Logan County, W.V., releasing a giant wave of thick, murky water, choked with chemicals, coal refuse, rocks and dirt. According to the official accident report, 132 million gallons of slurry suddenly flooded the Buffalo Creek Valley floor, destroying or partially destroying 17 communities. 125 people were killed. 4,000 people were left homeless.






There are three more pages, outlining the details of the 2000 and 1996 disasters, and what happened to the investigation when Bush gained control of the white house, and what is happening to Jack Spardo, who blew the whisle on this coverup.
You can read it here:
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/11/13/slurry_coverup/index1.html

It is necessary to watch a short add to get access. If you want the rest of the article posted, just ask.


Bottom line: through negligence, a coal company (Martin County Coal) caused an environmental disaster that makes the Exxon Valdiz look like piss in the woods. There was an investigation, that likely would have found them culpable, along with the MSHA. The coal company is a strong financial supporter of Bush. When Bush took office, the investigation was hamstringed.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
Chill the FuckOut!
 User Gallery

Registered: 10/10/02
Posts: 27,301
Loc: mndfreeze's puppet army
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2527083 - 04/05/04 11:59 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I've noticed that not a lot of attention here has been placed on Bush's environmental record. I think that this will be one of the biggest differences between Bush and Kerry. I've heard that even in the primaries, Kerry was strongest on the environment out of all the candidates. The people who bitch about there being no difference between Bush and Kerry obviously aren't thinking about the destruction of our precious planet earth.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,964
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528136 - 04/05/04 05:03 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Two points to ponder.
1. This is like the 4,712th "worst enviromental disaster" to befall the US.
2. It took place on Clinton's watch. Bush wasn't even the President-elect at that time. As such there were 3 months where this supposedly could have been brought to the publics attention, yet lo and behold.... not a mention of that in the article.
Edit: A quick google turns up 4700 hits. I hopped back to page 70 where I foundthis. from 2002. I was tired of skimming by then so I quit looking but it doesn't strike me as a very good cover up.

Can you spell "slant"? I betcha can!


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


Edited by luvdemshrooms (04/05/04 05:11 PM)


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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2528301 - 04/05/04 05:40 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

1) this is not the "worst environmental disaster", but it is a bad one, worse than the Exxon Valdiz which garnered so much media attention.
2) it took place under Clinton - but that wasn't the point.

The accident was preventable, but it was the MSHA and the company involved that have a problem, not either administration.

The problem is that the Bush administration interfered with the process that would have corrected the systemic problem that allowed this accident, and two others like it, to occur.
It did this to protect a powerful ally, the coal company, and more generally the energy industry.

There was an investigation in progress when Bush became president. This investigation, which could have led to appropriate fines and penalties for the negligence of the company at fault and could have led to the correction of the problems in the MSHA that allowed this to occur, was neutered by the Bush administration.

If you had read the article, you might have understood what it was about.

Ok, so "coverup" isn't really the right word. Howabout corruption?


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,964
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528311 - 04/05/04 05:44 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

If you had read the article, you might have understood what it was about.



Actually slick, it's obvious I read it seeing as I know what was and was not in it.

Weak, so weak.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2528316 - 04/05/04 05:46 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

ok.
Prove it.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,964
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528325 - 04/05/04 05:49 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

phi1618 said:
ok.
Prove it.



Now you've gone from a weak statement to a stupid one. How disappointing.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528351 - 04/05/04 05:57 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

phi1618 said:
1) this is not the "worst environmental disaster", but it is a bad one, worse than the Exxon Valdiz which garnered so much media attention.
2) it took place under Clinton - but that wasn't the point.

The accident was preventable, but it was the MSHA and the company involved that have a problem, not either administration.

The problem is that the Bush administration interfered with the process that would have corrected the systemic problem that allowed this accident, and two others like it, to occur.
It did this to protect a powerful ally, the coal company, and more generally the energy industry.

There was an investigation in progress when Bush became president. This investigation, which could have led to appropriate fines and penalties for the negligence of the company at fault and could have led to the correction of the problems in the MSHA that allowed this to occur, was neutered by the Bush administration.

If you had read the article, you might have understood what it was about.

Ok, so "coverup" isn't really the right word. Howabout corruption?




That's what I said.

You responded only to my comment about RTFA.

You haven't responded to the article, or my initial point, in any way.

You've only said that the accident occured during the Clinton presidency, which could easily have been gleamed from my inital post, and which is totally irrelavent to the investigation that followed the accident, which is what the article was about.

So, tell me - why is the persecution of Jack Spardo ok? Should Martin County Coal be held accountable for its actions, beyond a six figure fine for minor violations?


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,964
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528384 - 04/05/04 06:10 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

That's what I said.



Really? No shit?


Quote:

So, tell me - why is the persecution of Jack Spardo ok?



Not if he's correct.


Quote:

Should Martin County Coal be held accountable for its actions, beyond a six figure fine for minor violations?



Let's flog them. And then throw stones. We can even taunt them!


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,964
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: phi1618]
    #2528387 - 04/05/04 06:11 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Here's a different article on the subject you may enjoy.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Re: Bush whitehouse covers up environmental catastrophe [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2528464 - 04/05/04 06:35 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

luvdemshrooms said:
Here's a different article on the subject you may enjoy.




huh.
That's actually alot better than the salon.com one.


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