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Federal regulations sometimes neededPosted Wednesday, April 7, 2010, at 10:33 AM
Quite a few people complain about too much government regulation.
But here's where we need it.
As of now 25 men are dead in a West Virginia coal mine, arguably because its owners were more interested in profit than safety.
Reports indicate the government has fined Massey Energy Co. repeatedly for safety violations, but the firm so strongly contests them that only 16 percent of fines levied have been paid.
"Bombarding federal regulators with appeals is an increasingly common industry tactic," the Associated Press reports.
Some will probably claim problems like this would be solved by eliminating government regulation, as if an industry with a history of abuse would police itself. On the other extreme, would harsh punishment for an offending mine's corporate officials and top managers after preventable deaths -- such as hard labor for several years in prison -- have more effect than simply fines against corporations? That would, hopefully, be an extreme last resort. But, going by the number of alleged Massey violations, nothing else yet has affected their attitudes.
At least the government stepped in and tried. When health and safety are at issue, political maneuvering should be pushed aside and what's best for the public should come first.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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