12:05pm

Wed August 24, 2011
All Politics are Local

P’Pool Says Mine Inspections ‘Go Too Far’

In an interview with cn|2 Pure Politics, Republican attorney general candidate Todd P’Pool said he thought government inspection and regulation of coal mines in Kentucky has “gone too far.” P’Pool grew up in western Kentucky and is the son of a coal miner and the grandson of a federal mine inspector. The Hopkins County Attorney discussed his upbringing in the coalfields, and said he thinks the United Mine Workers of America has outlived its usefulness in Kentucky.

P’Pool argued that because government has increased the frequency of mine inspections, the union isn’t needed anymore. But then he also criticized the government and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration for their scrutiny of underground mines–which he said sometimes means 5 or 6 inspectors are at a mine every day.

“It’s gone too far,” P’Pool said. “I think when a 20-year-old MSHA inspector is following around a 25 or 30-year veteran underground, it’s gone too far.”

As cn|2 reports:

Officials at the Western Kentucky district of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration in P’Pool’s hometown of Madisonville said sometimes two-to-three inspectors might be on site at the same mine for a few days if the mine is particularly sprawling. For instance, one underground mine in Western Kentucky has 22 miles of belt line to be inspected.

The average age of inspectors in that district is in the early 50s, although some younger inspectors in their late 20s and early 30s have been hired recently, according to the Western Kentucky office.

P’Pool is running against Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway.