More on Mine Safety
After concluding that the status quo (relying on the Federal Government to regulate mine safety) was "unacceptable", the Utah state government has created a regulatory commission to investigate mining safety issues. States with significant mining activity such as West Virginia and Kentucky had previously decided that federal activity in this field was inadequate and created state safety regulations.
One of the more recent complaints lodged by critics against the federal government's management of mine safety is the Mine Safety and Health Administration's failure to put into effect the federal Miner Act which was passed by Congress in 2006. In related news, Congress was forced to subpoena records of Elaine Chao, the Bush Administration's labor secretary, because she refused to comply with Congress' request for documents related to the department's oversight of the Utah mine where the nine fatalities occurred. The mine had just previously been approved for a dangerous form of "retreat" mining, although the owner claims that it was not engaged in retreat mining at the time of the collapse. (Of course, he also claims that the collapse was caused by an earthquake that professional seismologists did not detect.)