Howard Berkes http://kvpr.org en The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen? http://kvpr.org/post/turkish-mine-disaster-how-could-it-happen Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has enraged families of the victims of the Soma mine disaster by characterizing mining accidents as "ordinary things."<p>In fact, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/15/312694185/turkish-mine-explosion-angry-protests-as-death-toll-rises">the disaster</a> appears to have ordinary causes familiar to mining experts, who note that well-known precautions exist to prevent the kind of explosion that killed so many in Turkey.<p>"The risk is constant," says Tom Hethmon, a professor of mine safety at the University of Utah and a consultant to Thu, 15 May 2014 19:11:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 32717 at http://kvpr.org The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen? Regulators Couldn't Close U.S. Mine Despite Poor Safety Record http://kvpr.org/post/regulators-couldnt-close-us-mine-despite-poor-safety-record The West Virginia mine where two workers were fatally injured on Monday consistently violated federal mine safety laws, but federal regulators say they were unable to shut it down completely.<p>The Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that two workers were killed on May 12 when coal and rocks burst from mine walls at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 mine in Boone County, W.Va.<p>MSHA says one victim was operating a mining machine and the other was drilling bolts into the roof of the mine, a process that prevents rockfalls. Wed, 14 May 2014 23:05:00 +0000 Howard Berkes & Anna Boiko-Weyrauch 32672 at http://kvpr.org 2 Die In W.Va. Mine With Troubled Safety Record http://kvpr.org/post/2-die-wva-mine-troubled-safety-record Two coal miners died in a mine accident in Boone County, W.Va., Monday night, in a mine with a troubled safety record.<p>The accident occurred at the Brody Mine No.1, which is owned by Patriot Coal. In a statement, the company says the deaths were caused by "a severe coal burst as the mine was conducting retreat mining operations."<p>A burst occurs when the downward pressure of the earth sitting above the mine forces coal or rock to shoot out from the rock walls.<p>"Retreat mining" is a dangerous practice that follows the completion of mining of the main coal seam. Tue, 13 May 2014 21:27:00 +0000 Howard Berkes & Anna Boiko-Weyrauch 32617 at http://kvpr.org U.S. Olympic Committee Plans To Examine Speedskating's Woes http://kvpr.org/post/us-olympic-committee-plans-examine-speedskatings-woes For American speedskaters, this Winter Olympics has been defined by controversy over racing suits and disappointment over a lack of podium finishes. Now comes word that the U.S. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:53:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 28663 at http://kvpr.org U.S. Olympic Committee Plans To Examine Speedskating's Woes Details Emerge About Colorado Mine Accident And Safety Record http://kvpr.org/post/details-emerge-about-colorado-mine-accident-and-safety-record One of the men killed at the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/11/18/245901905/2-killed-in-colo-mining-accident-carbon-monoxide-blamed">Revenue-Virginius mine in Ouray, Colo.</a>, on Sunday was trying to find the other miner who died.<p>New details of the incident from the Mine Safety and Health Administration were released Monday. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 23:11:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24711 at http://kvpr.org More Blame Congress Than Obama For Park Woes During Shutdown http://kvpr.org/post/more-blame-congress-obama-park-woes-during-shutdown It may seem like a distant memory, but the images are indelible: grizzled veterans <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/13/233334336/barriers-breached-at-world-war-ii-memorial-on-mall">tearing down barricades</a> at the National World War II Memorial; armed rangers <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/03/228719015/national-parks-close-as-other-public-lands-stay-open">blocking national park entrance roads</a> with massive signs and government SUVs; and county officials in Utah <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/09/231086726/county-in-utah-threatens-takeover-of-n Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:30:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24673 at http://kvpr.org More Blame Congress Than Obama For Park Woes During Shutdown 2 Summer Olympic Cities Are Chasing The 2022 Winter Games http://kvpr.org/post/2-summer-olympic-cities-are-chasing-2022-winter-games With the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/10/29/241642365/100-days-to-the-sochi-olympics-some-key-things-to-know">upcoming Winter Olympics</a> set in a subtropical, palm tree-lined resort city on Russia's Black Sea, it's no surprise that two former Summer Olympics hosts are now seeking the 2022 Winter Games.<p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/156368611/chinas-post-olympic-woe-how-to-fill-an-empty-nest">Beijing</a>, host of the 2008 Summer Games, must miss the Olympic glow — or polluting murky mist, as it turned out to be, given its formal bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 19:00:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24578 at http://kvpr.org 2 Summer Olympic Cities Are Chasing The 2022 Winter Games House Lawmakers Seek Federal Probe Of Black Lung Program http://kvpr.org/post/house-lawmakers-seek-federal-probe-black-lung-program Two Democratic congressmen have <a href="http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/documents/Miller%20and%20Courtney%20Letter%20to%20Labor%20OIG%20RE%20Black%20Lung.pdf">formally asked the Labor Department's Inspector General</a> to investigate "allegations of misconduct by doctors and lawyers working on behalf of the coal industry" and their roles in the denials of benefits for coal miners stricken with black lung disease.<p>In their letter, Rep. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:14:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24238 at http://kvpr.org Johns Hopkins Halts, Reviews Black Lung Program http://kvpr.org/post/johns-hopkins-halts-reviews-black-lung-program <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/abc_news_report_b-reads_pneumoconiosis_statement.html">Johns Hopkins Medicine</a> says it will suspend and review its black lung program, following joint investigative reports last week from the <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/environment/breathless-and-burdened">Center for Public Integrity</a> and <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/investigation-johns-hopkins-tough-questions-black-lung-money/story?id=20721430">ABC News</a> that found the program "helped coal companies thwart efforts by ailing mine workers to receive disability benefits. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 19:32:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24009 at http://kvpr.org Report Details Industry's 'Cutthroat' Fight Of Miners' Claims http://kvpr.org/post/report-details-industrys-cutthroat-fight-miners-claims My investigative reporting colleague Chris Hamby at the Center for Public Integrity has a compelling and troubling follow-up to our <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/156453033/black-lung-returns-to-coal-country">jointly-reported series last year</a> on the resurgence of the deadly coal miners' disease black lung.<p>Hamby has spent the last year investigating the system that awards compensation to miners stricken with the disease. Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:06:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 23734 at http://kvpr.org Theme Park Called 'Insensitive' For 'Miner's Revenge' Attraction http://kvpr.org/post/theme-park-called-insensitive-miners-revenge-attraction <strong>Update at 8:45 p.m. ET: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:03:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 23677 at http://kvpr.org Boy Scouts Eject Leaders Who Toppled Ancient Rock http://kvpr.org/post/boy-scouts-eject-leaders-who-toppled-ancient-rock <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYFD18BwmJ4</p> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 22:05:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 23350 at http://kvpr.org Boy Scouts Eject Leaders Who Toppled Ancient Rock Some States Allowed To Reopen National Parks — And Foot The Bill http://kvpr.org/post/utah-allowed-reopen-national-parks-and-foot-bill "This is a godsend!" exclaimed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert late Thursday night, as he signed an agreement with the Department of the Interior to use state funds to reopen eight national park areas in his state for at least 10 days.<p>The Republican governor wasted no time in wiring $1.67 million to Washington overnight so that some of the areas can open as early as today. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 16:56:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22883 at http://kvpr.org Some States Allowed To Reopen National Parks — And Foot The Bill Feds To Consider State Funding To Reopen National Parks http://kvpr.org/post/feds-consider-state-funding-reopen-national-parks With <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/10/231440270/report-parks-shutdown-saps-750-million-in-visitor-spending">economic impacts mounting</a> and one Utah county <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/09/231086726/county-in-utah-threatens-takeover-of-national-park-areas">threatening to take over national parks</a>, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she will "consider agreements with governors" to allow state funding of national parks so that some can reopen to visitors.<p>Details are sketchy, but the agency "will begin conversations about how to proceed as e Thu, 10 Oct 2013 23:19:43 +0000 Howard Berkes 22857 at http://kvpr.org Feds To Consider State Funding To Reopen National Parks Report: Parks Shutdown Saps $750 Million In Visitor Spending http://kvpr.org/post/report-parks-shutdown-saps-750-million-visitor-spending An estimated 7 million people have been shut out at 12 of the busiest and biggest U.S. Thu, 10 Oct 2013 17:00:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22835 at http://kvpr.org Report: Parks Shutdown Saps $750 Million In Visitor Spending Shutdown Prompts Emergency Declarations In Utah http://kvpr.org/post/shutdown-prompts-emergency-declarations-utah Fed-up with declining tourism spending and tax revenue during the <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=134144512">government shutdown</a>, four Utah counties dependent on National Park and public lands visitors have declared states of emergency.<p>And Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has responded with a plea to President Obama to reopen the region's National Park areas with state, local and private funding.<p>"These closures must end immediately," Herbert wrote in a formal request to the President. Tue, 08 Oct 2013 22:26:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22747 at http://kvpr.org Shutdown Prompts Emergency Declarations In Utah NSA Says It Has 'Mitigated' Meltdowns At Utah Data Farm http://kvpr.org/post/nsa-says-it-has-mitigated-meltdowns-utah-data-farm This was supposed to be the month the National Security Agency cranked up its <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/09/23/225381596/booting-up-new-nsa-data-farm-takes-root-in-utah">biggest data farm yet</a>, in a Salt Lake City suburb.<p>The $1.2 billion complex covers 1.5 million square feet, and includes 100,000 square feet devoted solely to computers and servers.<p>But some of that equipment has fried in 10 "meltdowns" and "power surges" in the past 13 months, according to sources and documents quoted in <em><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304441404 Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:49:46 +0000 Howard Berkes 22731 at http://kvpr.org NSA Says It Has 'Mitigated' Meltdowns At Utah Data Farm National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open http://kvpr.org/post/national-parks-close-other-public-lands-stay-open From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.<p>The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.<p>The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. Thu, 03 Oct 2013 08:14:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22481 at http://kvpr.org National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open Jailed Massey Mine Boss Claims He Was Company's Sacrificial Lamb http://kvpr.org/post/jailed-massey-mine-boss-claims-he-was-companys-sacrificial-lamb A jailed, former superintendent of Massey Energy's <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/131960177/massey-mine-investigation">Upper Big Branch coal mine</a> claims his attorney colluded with attorneys for the company and its executives to avoid testimony about complicity in his crimes.<p>Gary May is serving a 21-month federal prison sentence after <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/03/29/149639345/massey-mine-boss-pleads-guilty-as-feds-target-execs">pleading guilty to conspiracy</a> to thwart federal mine safety law by warning miners underground when inspectors arrived on the surfa Tue, 24 Sep 2013 21:00:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22050 at http://kvpr.org Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah http://kvpr.org/post/booting-new-nsa-data-farm-takes-root-utah The National Security Agency won't say exactly when it will fully rev up its <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/06/10/190160772/amid-data-controversy-nsa-builds-its-biggest-data-farm" target="_blank">newest and biggest data farm</a> in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, Utah. Mon, 23 Sep 2013 21:54:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 22008 at http://kvpr.org Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah