"Larry Craig Lobbies On Mine Safety As Reform Slowly Dies"

"Having left Congress after an embarrassing 2007 arrest, former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has quietly reemerged in Washington as a lobbyist working on behalf of the coal industry. According to his federal filings, Craig has registered to wheedle his former Capitol colleagues on the obscure but critical issue of mine safety."

"It's an issue that Craig's new client, Murray Energy, knows all too well. The largest privately held coal company in the nation, Murray Energy owned a subsidiary that ran the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah, the site of a tragic cave-in incident that took the lives of six miners and later three rescuers. The cave-in occurred in August 2007, just weeks after Craig was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex in an airport bathroom.

The addition of a heavyweight like Craig to the coal lobby serves as a reminder of just how difficult it can be to pass mine safety reform in the face of industry influence, even in the aftermath of the worst mining disaster in 40 years. Since 29 miners died in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia in April 2010, a bill that would further empower the Mine Safety and Health Administration to shut down dangerous mines and punish unsafe operators has languished in Congress. Now that more than a year and a half has passed, the window of opportunity may have already closed for meaningful reform, industry observers say."

Dave Jamieson reports for the Huffington Post December 22, 2011.

Source: Huffington Post, 12/23/2011