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Massey CEO Donald Blankenship Committed Negligent Homicide — Throw Him in Jail « SpeakEasy
Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts says that Massey Energy Co.’s continued inaction on safety violations at its Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 West Virginia coal miners died in an April 5 explosion, should send Massey CEO Donald Blankenship to jail.
In a speech at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO convention yesterday, Roberts said, “If there is any justice in America,”
U.S. Marshals should go to where he lives, get him, handcuff him, put him in chains, take him to jail, set his fine at $40 million.
He told the delegates the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors had “shut this mine down over and over and over again.”
They brought the men outside, they brought them to a safe place. But as soon as they left the same thing happened again and again. They didn’t correct the violations.
In 2009, MSHA proposed nearly $1 million in fines for more than 450 safety violations at the nonunion mine. Just last month, MSHA cited the mine for 57 safety violations that included repeatedly failing to develop and follow the ventilation plan. Ventilation is vital to prevent the build-up of highly explosive methane gas, which is most likely the cause of the April blast.
Roberts said the Massey mine was cited several times for “failure to abate.”
What does that mean? They were told to do something by the United States government. They said here’s a violation you are being cited for. I’ll be back in five days and this better be corrected. This inspector came back over and over again and they didn’t correct the violations.
Some people, Roberts said, say mining is inherently dangerous and these things will happen and “there’s nothing we can do about it.”
They are damn sure wrong. We need good laws, we need those laws to be obeyed and we need those laws to be enforced and those who fail to obey those laws should be punished.
One of the miners killed, 25-year-old Josh Napper, was concerned about safety, especially ventilation problems at the Upper Big Branch Mine, his mother told CNN reporters after the blast. Roberts said he left a letter for his family before he went to the mine April 5. Napper “left it with his mother and fiancé and his baby fearing he was not going to survive working in this coal mine.”
There is something wrong with this picture. When young men go off to war, they write these kinds of letters, saying how much we love our mothers, our fathers, our wives and our kids. But in America, you’re not supposed to write that letter when you’re going off to work.
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