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Life already was tough, and then came April

Life already was tough, and then came April

Even before this month, life seemed pretty rough for the fossil fuels folks, who watched as the government focused money and sentiment on renewable energy industries including solar and wind.

Then in April came the tragedies in a West Virginia mine and on a Gulf of Mexico oil-drilling rig. And now the fossil fuels industries’ situation looks even worse.

Since the April 5 explosion in the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners, the coal mining industry in general and the Upper Big Branch’s owner, Massey Energy Co., in particular have come under intense scrutiny for their safety practices.

And it’s not going to end any time soon.

Just Tuesday, the director of the Mine Safety & Health Administration called for changes to strengthen enforcement of safety rules. His request came as a Senate committee began a hearing into laws that let companies delay penalties by challenging violations.

And in the aftermath of the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig (video) about 50 miles off Louisiana’s coast, not only are 11 workers missing and presumed dead, but thousands of barrels of oil are still pouring from the sea floor into the gulf. A sprawling oil slick threatens marine life and is stretching closer and closer to coastal areas. Congress also is looking into the oil rig disaster, and investigations and cleanup are likely to draw attention for the foreseeable future.

It looks like a couple of the fossil fuels industries are going to be under the microscope for quite a while.

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