Michael van der Galien

Montcoal and the Permanence of Risk

Posted on April 13 2010 12:24 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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“The disaster that killed 29 coal miners in Montcoal, West Virginia, last week was horrifying, underscoring the dangers that miners and their families live with every day,” writes Rich Trzupek at FrontPage Magazine. “There will be an investigation to determine what caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, as there should be. As is the case with any disaster, investigators will hope to learn what went wrong and how to prevent the same thing from happening again. Yet, whatever we learn, mining in general, and coal mining in particular, will always be a dangerous profession.”

Ain’t that the truth? He continues:

In that context, it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration reacts to the Big Branch disaster. Ideally, the president would recognize that nobody this side of God can completely eliminate risk in professions that are inherently dangerous. Ideally, he would let MSHA, the industry and the coal-miners figure out what went wrong and how best to address the root cause, assuming one is found. They are the professionals, after all, and are in the best position to offer to both conduct an investigation and propose further safeguards.

However, the president’s announcement that the White House will conduct its own investigation is both predictable and symbolic of this administration’s tendency toward regulatory overreach. Obama and his advisors not only believe that they can eliminate risk, they are sure that it’s their personal duty to do so. What was the healthcare bill, if not an exercise is risk avoidance at the grandest scale? A few million Americans (the exact number of millions always seemed to be a moving target) were uninsured and therefore at risk of running up medical bills they could not pay. It was government’s job, according to the President, to eliminate this risk once and for all, the expense be damned. The same can be said for Obama’s EPA, which is busy implementing new regulations and conducting new studies at a pace that makes one’s head spin. Why? Primarily because they believe that doing so will save lives. No matter that our air and water are cleaner they have ever been since the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed forty years ago. No matter that life expectancies in America are longer than ever. For this administration, no risk, no matter how tiny it is and how expensive it may be to address, can ever be ignored.

The Obama administration‘s approach to the problem is, of course, typical for leftists. They believe that the government is not only able to control everything and everyone, but that it’s desirable for it to do so. Accidents – good ones or bad ones – have to be eliminated. And not by just anyone but by Big Brother himself.

Sadly, the Left‘s solutions usually cause more problems than they solve.

Risks are a part of life; although some are certainly unnecessary, you can’t eliminate all of them. Mining is and will always be dangerous. It really is that simple.

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