So I’ve been following the developments with the Utah mine disaster—with it’s trapped miners and the subsequent death of several rescuers in a second cave-in—waiting for the inevitable revelation that someone in charge is an idiot. Why am I not surprised that it’s yet another Bush end-run-around-Congress appointee:
Increasing attention is now being paid to Stickler, the federal government’s main mine man.
Stickler used to be a mining executive who – according to various media reports – ran mines which had several fatalities and “…an incident rate that was often twice the national average.”
Also coming to light, is the fact that Stickler’s nomination to head the mine administration was twice rejected by congress and rejected when republicans were still in charge. Rejected reportedly by senators who were concerned about Stickler’s safety record when he operated mines. After his nomination was twice rejected by the Senate, President Bush gave Richard Stickler the mine safety job with a recess appointment. That’s a presidential appointment made when congress is not in session. Finally, congressional investigations and hearings are now expected to look at a key provision of federal mining law, one which requires the U.S. Government to be the main communicator when an accident occurs.
ABC News now notes it took the mine safety administration two days to take public control of the Crandall Canyon Mine.
You’d think the Bush Administration would’ve learned something from the whole Hurricane Katrina fiasco, but that’d be ridiculously optimistic. Bush isn’t a learner, he’s a deciderer. And he decidered to put idiots in charge of important federal agencies because he values loyalty over competency.