Todd P'Pool says mine unions aren't needed because regulations made mines safer

08/22/2011 07:25 PM

Todd P’Pool, the Republican candidate for attorney general, said the federal government might have gone overboard on mine safety regulations but has nevertheless improved mine conditions enough that unions aren’t needed now.

The United Mine Workers of America has “out-lived its usefulness,” P’Pool said at the 3:40 mark of video.

“I think back in the day, the UMWA had a role to play in terms of safety for our miners. I think they did have a role to play in the history of the commonwealth,” he said starting at 2:40.

But P’Pool said safety procedures “are much safer today thanks to much greater government intervention — probably too much government invention.”

P’Pool, who is in his second term as Hopkins County Attorney, said when his grandfather was a mine inspector, an inspector would be on the mine site once a month. “Now we have five or six inspectors on site on a mine on a daily basis, and it’s gone too far. I think when a 20-year-old MSHA inspector is following a 25 or 30-year veteran underground, it’s gone too far.”

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 also answered questions about his ad prominently mentioning his faith (4:30 of the interview).

He talked about his background as the Hopkins County Attorney, which is stated in his commercial as P’Pool is shown ducking under police tape. (6:25 of the video).

And he fielded questions about why he believes it’s a priority for Kentucky to join the challenges to the 2010 National Health Care Reform Act — nicknamed “Obamacare” — even as those lawsuits make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. (7:50 of the interview).

This was P’Pool’s first in-studio interview with Pure Politics since he entered the attorney general’s race last winter.

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway appeared on the program for an interview in January, in which he answered questions about his loss in the 2010 U.S. Senate race and his knowledge of legal problems his brother faced.

Conway also talked about investigations at that time and the drug problem Kentucky faces.

Coming up on Tuesday’s edition of Pure Politics, P’Pool fields questions on what he would do to combat the drug problem.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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