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Blankenship 4 articles

Final settlements reached in WV mine explosion, criminal charges likely to follow

Alpha Natural Resources, the new owner of West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, has settled with the remaining families of the miners who were killed in an April 2010 explosion, believed to be the worst mining disaster in 40 years. The 13 families who hadn’t reached an agreement with Alpha or the mine’s previous owner, Massey Energy, accepted settlement offers after more than four days of talks with a mediator, according to the Charleston Gazette. The 16 other families either settled with Massey before the Alpha buyout or reached agreements with the new owner. Details of the latest settlements, including ... Read More

Record settlement reached over Massey mining deaths, criminal charges may come

Alpha Natural Resources has agreed to pay $209 million in civil fines, criminal penalties, and restitution for the role Massey Energy played in the April 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that left 29 miners dead and several others injured in West Virginia. The settlement is the largest ever reached in connection with mining disaster, according to federal officials. Massey Energy, the company that owned and operated the mine when the disaster occurred, entered a downward spiral from which it couldn’t recover after the deadly blast and was acquired by its competitor Alpha Natural Resources last June. The settlement allocates ... Read More

Massey Energy hires PR agency to revamp image after mining disaster

The board of Massey Energy, parent company and owner of Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where 29 miners died in explosion earlier this month, is seeking a public relations boost from a Texas-based firm with political connections. Since the tragic explosion on April 5, Massey’s safety record has come to the public’s attention, revealing a systemic disregard for critical safety measures that could have prevented the disaster had they been followed. The incident has placed Massey Energy and its controversial CEO Don Blankenship under fire from all directions. On the outside, federal regulators, safety advocates, and victims’ families ... Read More

Poor safety record, bad leadership caused mining deaths

Massey Energy, owner of the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where at least 25 miners were killed on Monday, has had a long record of serious safety violations, many of which portended Monday’s tragic explosion and subsequent collapse of the mining shaft. Massey is the nation’s fourth largest coal company and the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, with bituminous coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Despite the size and scope of its operations, however, Massey invests very little in protecting its workers. Between 2005 and Monday, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cited ... Read More