Thursday, May 18, 2006

Croneyism Still Alive And Well In Bush Administration

Beth Daley at the Project on Government Oversight's Pogo blog points out that the appointment of John Correll to direct the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at the Department of Interior seems to indicate that "Being qualified and effective at your job apparently seems to be a quaint and outdated notion in the world of political appointments to our federal government."

His main qualification? Correll has “has been responsible for management of all aspects” of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

And that is supposed to be a good thing?

Daley excerpts a speech by West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall on Correll's appointment:
Mr. Correll has been part of the leadership at MSHA during a time when the policy floor fell out. Under his leadership the philosophy at MSHA changed from one of oversight and compliance to one of partnership and complicity.

Rulemakings were abandoned. Opportunities to improve coal miner safety were closeted away. And Mr. Correll and others within the Bush Labor Department advocated partnering with industry to address safety concerns, rather than to enforce the law.

In fact, in 1998, Mr. Correll testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protection advocating fewer inspections, incentives over penalties, and cooperation over regulation.

While other Nations soared ahead in mine safety, incorporating new technologies to ensure and improve protections for their most precious mining resource -- their workers – this Nation, through a cultural shift at MSHA, remained in the dust. It has been a shameful record that I would loath to see carried over to OSM.
Oh, and before MSHA? Daley notes that he held management positions at Amax Mining and Peabody Coal Co (pdf).

I'm sure he'll do a hell of a job over at OSM.