Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster Report: Justice?

By: Wednesday December 7, 2011 7:40 am

So, will MSA collect? Will any of the miners’ families collect? Will anyone in upper management of Massey EVER see the inside of a court room (much less a jail cell?)? Will anyone who was a member of the Board of Directors ever see the inside of a court room? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Massey Energy Turned off Methane Detector at Doomed Mine

By: Thursday July 15, 2010 8:30 am

On February 13, 2010, the management at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine ordered an electrician to disable a methane alarm that kept going off, according to NPR. This is the equivalent of being annoyed that your fire alarm is going off, so you turn it off; then your house burns down and kills you and almost everyone inside.

Can Congress (Finally) Get Coal Mine Safety Right?

By: Monday July 12, 2010 6:30 pm

Tomorrow afternoon, Congress will once again take up new legislative proposals to improve coal mine safety. After decades of repeated mining disasters, countless unnecessary deaths and injuries, and continual demands for remedial action, can Congress finally get mining safety legislation right? The outward signs are not encouraging.

Massey Energy Sues MSHA, Claiming Regulator “Violated Its Constitutional Rights”

By: Wednesday June 23, 2010 6:30 pm

This takes some stones. Massey Energy, whose mine explosion in West Virginia in April killed 29 people, has decided to sue the Mine Safety and Health Administration, along with three of its regulators, over MSHA’s denial of Massey’s preferred mine ventilation plans.

Massey’s lawsuit says that federal law didn’t allow the company to challenge MSHA’s requirements, saying such a restriction “violated its constitutional rights,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

This Disaster is Brought to You By . . .

By: Saturday May 15, 2010 9:00 am

With all the concern about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I thought it would be helpful to put the corporate citizenship of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton into perspective. This isn’t the first disaster with corporate sponsorship, after all.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Susan Kushner Resnick, Goodbye Wifes and Daughters

By: Sunday May 2, 2010 2:00 pm

A coal mine saddled with unsafe conditions. Wealthy mine owners willfully ignorant of safety violations and unventilated toxic gasses threatening miners. And government officials unable to hold the mines to the most basic safety standards. It all led to the deaths of dozens of miners caught in an underground explosion.

But this isn’t the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. It’s a World War Two era mine explosion in Montana.

“Goodbye Wives and Daughters,” by Susan Kushner Resnick, is the thorough account of the 1943 coal mine explosion in Bearcreek, Montana that killed 74 miners.

5,214 Workers Died on the Job in 2008

By: Wednesday April 28, 2010 7:20 pm

When President Obama eulogized the 29 dead miners of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion this weekend, he noted that no one should “put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work.” Unfortunately, it’s not just miners who fear for their lives while making a paycheck; deaths on the job are unfortunately entirely too common. In its annual report on worker deaths, the AFL-CIO found that 5,214 workers died on the job in 2008. That’s 14 people a day.

Massey Energy in SEC Statement: Trust Us, We’re Fine

By: Monday April 12, 2010 7:15 pm

S&P curiously upgraded Massey Energy stock from a “hold” to “buy” this morning, and without unquestioningly reported that Massey would be shielded from lawsuits and had plans to make up for the lost coal. Turns out that Massey filed a shareholder statement with the SEC on Thursday .

In the statement, Massey assures its shareholders that its insurance will cover any lawsuits from the mine explosion, and accuses the media of exaggerating its poor safety record.

Massey Stock Upgraded to “Buy” as Mine Disaster “Immaterial” to Profit (Update: NY Comptroller Calls on Blankenship to Resign)

By: Monday April 12, 2010 4:12 pm

This morning’s news from the S&P stock exchange should be music to Don Blankenship’s ears. Massey’s stock has been upgraded to a “buy” because the accident should be “immaterial” to Massey’s finances. This is the bet that Blankenship made with the lives of 29 miners: that he could risk their lives without risking his profits. Richard Trumka called this disaster “the inevitable result of a profit-driven system and reckless corporate conduct.” He couldn’t be more correct. And Don Blankenship couldn’t care less.

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