That's only half true. Though inspectors increased their inspections at Sago, what Chao didn't say was that the inspections clearly documented the unsafe conditions at the mine:
- Nearly half of the 208 safety citations levied in 2005 against the Sago coal mine where 12 men died this week were "serious and substantial." Federal inspectors found 20 dangerous roof-falls, 14 power wire insulation problems, and three cases of inadequate ventilation plans, among the 96 major violations.
A woman whose father died in the mine, Amber Helms, is quoted as saying, "If they had that many violations..., they shouldn't have had the mines open in my opinion."
Inspections weren't the problem; the problem was enforcement that amounted to nothing more than "nuisance fines" for Sago. Serious enforcement could have saved the lives of the men.