They see tomorrow, they don't see the future. They don't think they're getting their money's worth ... if a guy can't operate a continuous miner or a roof-bolting machine tomorrow.
They want guys who are 30 to 35 years old, and there is a finite supply of them.
I've been criticizing them for 20 years for doing it that way. It's not good government.
That is a very high number, and it is usually indicative of a very poor safety record.
With the price of coal so high, you have operators coming out of the woodwork, trying to get into any seam of coal they can to make a quick buck, opening up a lot of little dog holes.
You can pick which court will be better for you.
From the time that the company got its first unwarrantable failure, that put them on alert that those examinations weren't being conducted properly. Such unwarrantable failure is just intolerable, and that should be referred to the U.S. attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
If an operator is undercapitalized to the extent that he can't pay his fines, he shouldn't be in business. You can bet he's skimping on safety.
Most of the fines are not high enough to have a real deterrent effect. If the operators know they're not going to have to pay the fines, or that they will be minimal fines, they just factor that into the cost of doing business.
To me, if you're under-capitalized and don't have the financial means to operate a safe mine, you shouldn't be in the mining business.
You can mine 4 tons of coal in a couple of minutes. It's cheaper to exceed the dust limits, expose a miner to black lung and pay the fine than it is to do the right thing.
The Bush administration ushered in this desire to develop cooperative ties between regulators and the mining industry. Safety has certainly suffered as a result.
We have a serious, serious problem in Kentucky with failure to report accidents.