Health Academy, Jack Spadaro. In terms of safety, Jack, what do we know about this mine and its relative safety
in how it should have been operating?
JACK SPADARO, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MINE ACADEMY: We know from the record that the mine, in particular
in the past year, has been cited over 180 times for violations of federal mine health and safety law and
regulations. And about 90 of those violations were called serious and substantial violations of the law. So we
know that it was a very unsafe mine and that there were serious problems with mine ventilation and roof control.
COLMES: Are you saying that these men should not have been allowed to go down there?
SPADARO: Yes, sir.
COLMES: You're saying this mine should not have been open?
SPADARO: This mine should have been closed. And there were too many serious violations. And the record is
COLMES: Why was it open then? If you, as a safety expert, feels it should not have been, why was it open?
SPADARO: I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their
reluctance to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary. And that often involves closing a
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Jack, let's not politicize this! I mean, already, what do you want, to blame George
Bush with this? Is that where you're headed with this political question? I don't think this is the time to go
There certainly are issues. This mine was cited for over 200 violations, 46 during an 11-week period late
in the year. They've been fined thousands of dollars. But I can't see an instance where it was recommended that
they close it.
SPADARO: Well, actually, there were three orders to close portions of the mine that were issued in the
October to the December period. And there has been a significant change since the Bush administration took over,
the enforcement of mine safety and health.
And I can speak to that, because I worked in the agency, and I talk with people every day who tell me that,
in recent years, and particularly in recent months, there's been a reluctance on the part of the top management at
the Mine Safety and Health Administration...
HANNITY: All right, you've got a political...
SPADARO: ... to enforce the law.
HANNITY: We don't have time tonight to get into this, nor do I think it's appropriate. But you clearly
have a political agenda that, if I had enough time, I'm sure I...
SPADARO: No. You called me and asked me to make a comment.
HANNITY: I know, but I'm sure...
SPADARO: And I'm telling you what's...
HANNITY: You want to turn this into a political thing...
SPADARO: No, I'm telling you what the truth is.
HANNITY: ... and we have families that are suffering tonight, sir.
SPADARO: And that's the truth is that there were 180 violations...
HANNITY: You want to blame George Bush...
SPADARO: ... that were serious.
HANNITY: ... like a lot of extreme left-wingers. All right. Go ahead. You got your point out.
COLMES: Mr. Spadaro, I'm not sure that you have a political point of view, but I do thank you very much for
coming on the show tonight. Thank you for your time.