BP PLC’s settlement yesterday in an Alaskan pipeline case marks the second high-profile legal battle the company has ended since capping its Gulf of Mexico gusher. But that leaves Republicans facing a quandary: Should BP be the exception to their push for more and faster offshore drilling?
The White House said drilling legislation on the House floor would “undercut” reforms established after the BP spill. The White House is attacking a pair of GOP offshore drilling bills that are on the House floor, alleging they would “undercut” safety and environmental reforms established after the BP oil spill.
Imagine if Republicans in Congress threatened to defund the Supreme Court because they didn’t like one of its decisions. Well, that’s almost what’s happening right now. as Republicans in Congress threaten to defund the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a quasi-judicial independent body tasked with prosecuting and enforcing labor law.
It shouldn’t be long now before Labor Secretary Hilda Solis releases her semi-annual regulatory plan for new worker health and safety rules. This document is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12866, and is supposed to be published every April and October. The Labor Secretary’s most recent regulatory agenda wasn’t issued until December 2010, the 20th to be exact. We”ll have to wait and see how tardy this one will be.
- If everybody is collaborating, why aren’t real-time coal-dust explosibility meters in the mines yet?
Those of us outside of Washington, D.C., still haven’t gotten to see or hear the complete House committee hearing on mine safety. Some sort of computer problem knocked out their webcast, but I’m told they plan to post the video later. But from the prepared materials alone, there was this bizarre statement included in the opening statement from subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg, R-Mich.: “Let’s ensure federal policies hold bad actors accountable, and partner with the good actors on behalf of worker safety. An example of this kind of collaborative effort is the successful development and deployment of coal dust explosibility meters, or CDEM. …”
Notorious coal baron Don Blankenship was supposed to be long gone now, partying with his pals on the French Riviera or, according to a lawyer friend of mine in West Virginia, making himself comfortable in a new $3.5 million house on a lake in Tennessee. But apparently the Blankenship spirit lives on. NPR reported that federal regulators evacuated coal miners from portions of a Massey mine in West Virginia after a surprise inspection revealed two dozen safety violations that could have sparked fires or explosions. Don Blankenship: Gone, but clearly not forgotten.
Since OSHA’s inception in 1970, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now totals over 107 million workers at 7.6 million worksites.
More and more Americans over age 55 are working later in life, and this means work-related injuries in this group continue to climb, up from 12 percent in 2003 to 17 percent in the latest tally, federal health officials report. Although older workers do not have an increased risk of injury overall compared to younger workers, they are at higher risk of falls from stairs, ladders or heights and for specific types of injuries, including fractures and hip injury, the researchers said.
An investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found multiple violations at the E. I. DuPont De Nemours Co. Yerkes Plant following a fatal explosion at the plant in November 2010. Richard Folaron, an employee of Mollenberg-Betz Inc., was performing welding atop a 10,000-gallon tank when hot sparks ignited flammable vapors inside the tank, causing an explosion that killed him and injured another Mollenberg-Betz employee, William Freeburg. The slurry tank was supposed to be empty but was still connected to two operating slurry tanks, and flammable vapors seeped through the interconnected piping system into the tank on which the employee was working, OSHA said Thursday.
As journalists and advocates of press freedom around the globe mark World Press Freedom Day, four reporters — two of them American — are marking one month of detention in Tripoli at the hands of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. GlobalPost correspondent James Foley and Clare Morgana Gillis, who has written for USA Today and The Atlantic, together with Manuel Varela, a Spanish photographer who works under the name Manu Brabo and South African photographer Anton Hammerl, were picked up by Gaddafi forces on April 5 while reporting on the conflict near the eastern town of Brega.