Former Director Of Mine Academy Blames Bush Admin. Over Mine Disaster

(I'm working on the video, but my file seems corrupted so here's the transcript) Appearing on the H&C show last night, Jack Spadaro, former Direct

(I'm working on the video, but my file seems corrupted so here's the transcript) Appearing on the H&C show last night, Jack Spadaro, former Director, NATIONAL MINE ACADEMY went after the Bush administration over the mining disaster in Sago and tied Sean Hannity's usually vitriolic tongue in knots.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Joining us now on the phone is the former director of the National Mine Safety and Health Academy, Jack Spadaro. In terms of safety, Jack, what do we know about this mine and its relative safety in how it should have been operating?

JACK SPADARO, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MINE ACADEMY: We know from the record that the mine, in particular in the past year, has been cited over 180 times for violations of federal mine health and safety law and regulations. And about 90 of those violations were called serious and substantial violations of the law. So we know that it was a very unsafe mine and that there were serious problems with mine ventilation and roof control.

COLMES: Are you saying that these men should not have been allowed to go down there?

SPADARO: Yes, sir.

COLMES: You're saying this mine should not have been open?

SPADARO: This mine should have been closed. And there were too many serious violations. And the record is very clear.

COLMES: Why was it open then? If you, as a safety expert, feels it should not have been, why was it open?

SPADARO: I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their reluctance to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary. rAnd that often involves closing a mine. r
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Jack, let's not politicize this! I mean, already, what do you want, to blame GeorgerBush with this? Is that where you'rerheaded with this political question? I don'trthink this is the time to go into that.
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There certainlyrare issues. This mine was cited for overr200 violations, 46 during an 11-week period late in the year. They've been fined thousands of dollars. But I can't see an instance where it wasrrecommended that they close it.
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SPADARO: Well, actually, there were three orders torclose portions of the mine that were issued in the October to the Decemberrperiod. And there has been a significantrchange since the Bush administration took over, the enforcement of mine safetyrand health.
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And I canrspeak to that, because I worked in the agency, and I talk with people every dayrwho tell me that, in recent years, and particularly in recent months, there'srbeen a reluctance on the part of the top management at the Mine Safety andrHealth Administration...
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HANNITY: All right, you've got a political...
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SPADARO: ... to enforce the law.
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HANNITY: We don't have time tonight to get into this, norrdo I think it's appropriate. But yourclearly have a political agenda that, if I had enough time, I'm sure I...
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SPADARO: No. Yourcalled me and asked me to make a comment.
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HANNITY: I know, but I'm sure... And that often involves closing a mine.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Jack, let's not politicize this! I mean, already, what do you want, to blame George Bush with this? Is that where you're headed with this political question? I don't think this is the time to go into that.

There certainly are issues. This mine was cited for over 200 violations, 46 during an 11-week period late in the year. They've been fined thousands of dollars. But I can't see an instance where it was recommended that they close it.

SPADARO: Well, actually, there were three orders to close portions of the mine that were issued in the October to the December period. And there has been a significant change since the Bush administration took over, the enforcement of mine safety and health.

And I can speak to that, because I worked in the agency, and I talk with people every day who tell me that, in recent years, and particularly in recent months, there's been a reluctance on the part of the top management at the Mine Safety and Health Administration...

HANNITY: All right, you've got a political...

SPADARO: ... to enforce the law.

HANNITY: We don't have time tonight to get into this, nor do I think it's appropriate. But you clearly have a political agenda that, if I had enough time, I'm sure I...

SPADARO: No. You called me and asked me to make a comment.

HANNITY: I know, but I'm sure...

SPADARO: And I'm telling you what's...

HANNITY: You want to turn this into a political thing...

SPADARO: No, I'm telling you what the truth is.

HANNITY: ... and we have families that are suffering tonight, sir.

SPADARO: And that's the truth is that there were 180 violations...

HANNITY: You want to blame George Bush...

SPADARO: ... that were serious.

HANNITY: ... like a lot of extreme left-wingers. All right. Go ahead. You got your point out.

COLMES: Mr. Spadaro, I'm not sure that you have a political point of view, but I do thank you very much for coming on the show tonight. Thank you for your time.

MyDD has a response to a smear campagin against them: The Sago Mines: Negligence by the Republicans

Think Progress has more on Spadaro.

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