Earlier this week, the SEC announced new rules that require mining
companies to start reporting any fatalities and all major health and
safety violations, mine by mine, in their quarterly and annual financial
reports. The filings are mandated in the wide-ranging Dodd-Frank Wall
Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Congress passed to try
to increase corporate accountability.
The rules take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal
Register. They require companies to report within four days any
“significant and substantial” violations, citations, flagrant
violations and imminent-danger orders issued by the federal Mine Safety
and Health Administration.
Coal operators must also include the dollar value of proposed fines,
whether the company has been or may be designated a pattern violator
by MSHA, and any pending cases with the Federal Mine Safety and Health
In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution
sensors makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get even a
rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles
that epidemiologists suspect contributes to millions of premature deaths
each year. The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter
(PM2.5), are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a tenth the
fraction of human hair. These small particles can get past the body’s
normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.
Even satellite measurements are difficult (clouds, snow, sand, elevation, etc.).
But not impossible: