Bad Idea File: Safety-Scorning CEO of W. Virginia Mining Disaster Company Set to Open New Mines
The AFL-CIO Now blog has a dispiriting report that reveals the depth of corporate impunity in America:
Don Blankenship was head of Massey Energy when 29 coal miners lost their lives in a massive explosion. Forced to resign, he has been largely invisible since.
Now he’s filed papers to start another coal mine venture.
Even worse? The union-busting Blankenship was notorious for his safety violations, and has shown little willingness to accept culpability:
Prior to the disaster, MSHA had filed more than 450 safety citations at Upper Big Branch, which wasn’t the only Massey mine with safety problems. MSHA records show that in at least six of the 10 years prior to the explosion, Massey mine’s injury rate has been worse than the national average for similar operations. In 2009, Massey and subsidiary Aracoma Coal Co. agreed to pay $4.2 million in criminal fines and civil penalties related to a January 2006 fire that killed two miners at the Alma No. 1 mine.
But far from taking responsibility, Blankenship has implied the deadly blast was God’s fault and told the government to keep its hands off patriotic business like Massey.