Posts Tagged ‘Massey Energy’

As the nation continues to mourn the loss of the 29 miners that died last week in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, President Obama and other federal officials launch an investigation. Others, like The Huffington Post, call for a criminal investigation against Massey’s CEO, Don Blankenship, for compromising the safety of his employees. Public Citizen goes even farther, calling for Massey’s board to fire Blankenship.

Blankenship’s Massey Energy is out of control. Since 2005, the Upper Big Branch Mine has been cited with more than 1,342 safety violations, including two the very day of the explosion. Massey has become a leader in the highly destructive practice of mountaintop-removal mining, sometimes in violation of the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. And Massey’s miners have been threatened with being fired if they join a union, according to the United Mineworkers of America.

If that weren’t bad enough, Blankenship has used his wealth to launch a $3 million campaign of reprehensible political ads smearing the reputation of a West Virginia Supreme Court justice while a $50 million judgment against Massey was before the court.

We cannot allow this blatant disregard for workers’ safety to continue. Sign the petition: Tell Massey’s board of directors to fire Don Blankenship at www.FireBlankenship.org. The first step is to remove Mr. Blankenship as Massey’s CEO. Doing so is a step forward for corporate accountability and worker safety.

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The silver lining of the mine explosion in West Virginia that has left at least 25 people dead and four missing is the added attention to mine safety—and workplace safety as a whole.

The Huffington Post today featured a story about all of the workplace safety accidents that aren’t widely publicized.

“Indeed, 16 American workers die every single day, on average, at the workplace, and the federal agencies tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen need more resources and more tools to combat such tragedies,” wrote Huffington Post’s David Dayen.

Want to hear about more about them? Public Citizen now tracks developments in workplace health and safety, from accidents to policy changes. Sign up now for daily e-mailed updates.

Unfortunately, mine safety is not a new issue. Just last year, Public Citizen highlighted the huge backlog of unheard mine safety cases (13,000 a year ago, 18,000 now), and called on Congress to allocate more money to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the government agency tasked with ruling on mine safety violations, to make more judicial hires. Many of these unheard cases are appeals–a tactic companies use to avoid paying fines for safety violations.

Perhaps if the agency had received the proper funding, Massey Energy, the company that owns the West Virginia mine, would not have gotten away with its dozens of violations. In fact, the company was slapped with two citations the very day of Monday’s explosion.

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