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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Desert Dancer 29 dead in West Virginia mine explosion (Apr 2010) (96* d) RE: 29 dead in West Virginia mine explosion (Apr 2010) 03 Dec 15


Guilty, but not guilty enough. :-(

Former Massey Energy C.E.O. Guilty in Deadly Coal Mine Blast

Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company was widely criticized after 29 workers were killed in the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, was convicted Thursday of conspiring to violate federal safety standards, becoming the most prominent American coal executive ever convicted of a crime related to mining deaths.

But in a substantial defeat for the Justice Department, the verdict, announced in Federal District Court here, exonerated Mr. Blankenship, Massey's former chief executive, of three felony charges that could have led to a prison term of 30 years. Instead, after a protracted and complex trial that began on Oct. 1, jurors convicted Mr. Blankenship only of a single misdemeanor charge that carried a maximum of a year in prison.
...
Mr. Blankenship was not tried on any charges that accused him of direct responsibility for the deaths at Upper Big Branch, which investigators said exploded because of improper ventilation that allowed gases to accumulate. But prosecutors argued that Mr. Blankenship's leadership had laid the groundwork for a catastrophe. There was not necessarily a formal conspiracy, prosecutors acknowledged, but they said that Mr. Blankenship's example and tone had set Massey on a course that put profits ahead of lives.

Federal officials said they welcomed the verdict, mixed as it was. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said the decision sent "a clear message that no mine operator is above the law, that there must be accountability when people lose their lives because of the neglect of their employer."


~ Becky in Long Beach


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