Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another MASSEY ENERGY Mine Disaster

Twenty five miners killed in what is being described as the "worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades."   Performance Coal Co, operating in Montcoal, W.V. is a subsidiary of Massey Energy, the nation's largest mining corporation and its worst environmental offender.  Massey Energy has continuously been cited for major safety violations at their mine sites.

ABC News reported:
 The nation's sixth biggest mining company by production, Massey Energy took in $24 million in net income in the fourth quarter of 2009. The company paid what was then the largest financial settlement in the history of the coal industry for the 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine, also in West Virginia. The fire trapped 12 miners. Two suffocated as they looked for a way to escape. Aracoma later admitted in a plea agreement that two permanent ventilation controls had been removed in 2005 and not replaced, according to published reports.

Massey CEO, Don Blankenship, has, over many years, been the subject of articles and inquiries regarding his business practices including political support of those in position to do his company the most good. Massey Energy has been accused and convicted of ongoing safety rules violations usually receiving what is known in the industry as a "soft fine".  For example, a recent case involved a judge who overturned a $50,000,000.00 judgment against the company on appeal.  This judge had long ties with and received thousands of dollars in campaign finance support from Blankenship.   

Rescue efforts were suspended this morning because high levels of methane gas made the operation unsafe, according to the NY Times.
You can help by donating to the Salvation Army or Red Cross  both of whom are on the scene supplying aid.


DJan said...

I saw this disaster on the news this morning. To think that it might have been averted if this guy went to jail earlier, that is just heartbreaking! Thanks for the links.

Baino said...

Corruption or no, it's a tragedy. We're pretty huge on OH&S here but only if you get caught and let's face it, the only crime is getting caught. I work in the building industry and people still get hurt on the ground despite OH&S regulations. Tragic. Just tragic. All that money and not much sense!

Ruth said...

I think the fines they pay are a fraction of a fraction of their profits, so why should they change anything. It's shocking and disgusting.

Captain Dumbass said...

As long as their lobbyists keep lining the pockets of government officials nothing will ever change.

Susan said...

Yep, what the Captain said!

California Girl said...

I have been reading about Blankenship and his company for years. Diane Sawyer had an impromptu interview w/ him the other day. She asked the right questions but he just replied with boilerplate answers. He's not even a good poker player but I don't think he cares.


by Cole Scott