Coal is Antiquated and Dangerous

Ken AshfordEnergy and ConservationLeave a Comment

Seems to me that in the 21st century, we shouldn't be sending men into miles-deep holes in the ground - a 17th century technology – in order to provide energy for all of us.

The amount of energy that the Earth receives from the sun in one hour could (if harnessed) fufill the entire planet's energy needs for an entire year.  Seems to me that we should be putting our efforts there, at least a little more.

As you may know,  Twenty-five miners were killed and another four are missing after a explosion took place at 3 pm Monday at Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co.’s Upper Big Branch Mine-South between the towns of Montcoal and Naoma.

What you may not know is that the Upper Big Branch Mine has been cited for safety violations a lot in the past several years.  And by a lot, I mean 3,007 safety violations since 1995, a whopping 569 from last year and this year alone. [MSHA]


You mayn wonder why there was a sudden surge in 2009 of safety violations for the Massey Energy's subsidiary.  Well, I don't know, but I do know that in 2002, President George W. Bush “named former Massey Energy official Stanley Suboleski to the MSHA review commission that decides all legal matters under the Federal Mine Act”.  And I know that the MSHA chief under Bush, Dick Stickler, was a former manager of Beth Energy mines, which “incurred injury rates double the national average.” It was a classic case of have mine safety oversight being conducted by the corporate mining overlords themselves.

On October 21, 2009, the Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Stickler, Joe Main, a “career union official and mine safety expert.” Massey’s Suboleski is still an active review commissioner