Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Miners

The president eulogized the fallen miners today in West Virginia. That's certainly a hard act to criticize, especially with his political history in the area and previous comments about coal. But I'm taken by something he said while putting his arms around a community in a time of grief:
"How can we fail them? How can a nation that relies on its miners not do everything in its power to protect them?" Obama said. "How can we let anyone in this country put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work, by simply pursuing the American Dream?"
Well, we let police, firefighters and soldiers and other emergency personnel put their lives on the line daily, but Obama was obviously talking about coming down hard on mining companies for perceived safety violations, apparently beyond just imposing more safety rules. In his mind the investigation is over.

Tragically there was another disaster in the energy business involving tough men who do dangerous work every day to keep the country running--the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has likely cost the lives of eleven. Like the mining disaster an exact cause has yet to be found, but environmentalists are already using it to suggest that Obama's expanded offshore oil exploration plan is dangerous and risky:
Obama showed no sign of budging Friday. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president still believes increasing domestic oil production can be done safely, securely and without harming the environment.

"I don't honestly think it opens up a whole new series of questions, because, you know, in all honesty I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last," Gibbs said.
The Federal Minerals Management Service will be working up new regulations to lessen the chances of more human errors despite Gibbs' cryptic reality. But the contrast between the two events is rather stark, it would seem.


Debbie said...

I haven't heard Obama say any words of kindness for the lives lost in the gulf oil drilling disaster, have you?

I knew the anti-drillers would use this as an excuse to not drill offshore.

I haven't read the entire eulogy yet for the miners, but I will.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

It will be interesting to see if Gibbs has anything to say today about the fact Obama has already found the coal mining execs guilty while his administration largely says c'est la vie to the oil riggers. Maybe because coming down too hard on the oil riggers would put too much spotlight on his previous decision to drill baby drill?