Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He formally nominated a head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration who has a great deal of experience with that agency's regulations... as a violator of them.

David G. Zatezelo's name was officially sent to the Senate today for confirmation as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, along with 45 other appointments. The MSHA, as its name suggests, is in charge of enforcing regulations related to worker safety in underground and surface mining in the United States. 

Zatezelo, the former CEO of coal company Rhino Resources, was recommended for the job by major Trump donor Bob Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy. That company operated the Crandall Canyon mine, where in 2007 six miners and three rescue workers were killed in a mine collapse following a series of violations and failures to disclose mining plans to MSHA. (Murray himself participated in a cover-up related to those failures to disclose.)

Under Zatezelo's watch, Rhino subsidiaries engaged in surveillance of MSHA inspectors so that they would have enough warning to hide violations. Nevertheless, the agency found so many violations that it issued rare "pattern of violations" letters in two consecutive years. It also fined the company for the death of one of its workers during a collapse. 

Why is this a bad thing?

  • Breaking laws is still not good job experience for enforcing those laws.
  • "Regulatory capture" shouldn't be something a president deliberately tries to make happen.

WTDT will address the DACA issue in the coming Sunday Week In Review post. As a reminder, this site does not take sides on policy issues, only with how Trump handles them--or fails to.

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