Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

King Coal Has

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

King Coal Has

Article excerpt

KING COAL HAS long ruled in West Virginia and elsewhere in Appalachia. In the wake of the April 5 explosion that killed 29 people in a mine run by Massey Energy, the king's throne has shown signs of tottering.

For example, a new group on Facebook, "Arrest Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Mines, for Murder!" has formed with the mission: "Let's start a movement! This CEO made a BUSINESS decision to violate safety rules and now workers are dead. Confiscate his millions and put him in prison!" Rep. George Miller, chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said, "Mine operators who game the system to avoid tough scrutiny by federal safety officials must be held accountable."

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The reason for the anger? Many feel the tragedy at the mine was entirely preventable. According to The Guardian, Massey has been cited tens of thousands of times, and paid more than $7.6 million in fines, for environmental and safety violations. In August, safety officials cited 48 mines--including Massey s Upper Big Branch mine, where the April disaster occurred--for a "pattern of violation" of health and safety regulations. …

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