Thursday, December 18, 2014

Former Massey Energy CEO Indicted in 2010 Explosion

Don Blankenship, former chief executive of Massey Energy, was indicted Nov. 13, 2014, on four criminal charges relating to a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

The April 5, 2010 explosion, at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine at Montcoal, WV, was the deadliest U.S. coal-mining incident in 40 years. A 2011 investigation by MSHA found that broken equipment failed to douse a small methane gas fire, which ignited coal dust in a giant blast.

During the 16-month indictment period, from Jan. 1, 2008 through April 9, 2010, the Upper Big Branch-South mine was cited 835 times for safety violations. The indictment alleges that during this time, Blankenship was part of a conspiracy to impede and hinder federal mine safety officials from carrying out their duties at the site by providing advance warning of federal mine inspections. According MSHA's investigation, these safety violations contributed to the fatal explosion.

Blankenship allegedly committed these and other crimes in order to produce more coal, reduce cost and make a higher profit. If convicted of all charges, he could face up to 31 years in prison. 

Blankenship pled innocent to all charges.

Click here to learn more.