Remember the horrible coal mine disaster at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in April 2010, the one that killed 29 coal miners? Well, there’s now been an independent investigation, and the Charleston Gazette reports the results:
*”The disaster at Upper Big Branch was man-made and could have been prevented.”
*”Any of these failures [ventilation system, coal dust buildup, breakdown in fireboss system, etc.] would have been problematic. Together, they created a perfect storm within the Upper Big Branch Mine, an accident waiting to happen”
*”It is only in the context of a culture bent on production at the expense of safety that these obvious deviations from decades of known safety practices makes sense.”
Now, a couple more interesting factoids Virginians might care about. First, as Elaine in Roanoke pointed out last April, “Blankenship and Massey don’t just hand out money in West Virginia, though. After all, they also have extensive interests in Virginia. Indeed, the corporation has its headquarters in Richmond.”
Second, among the recipients of Massey’s largesse, Kathy noted that “$40,000 [went] to the campaign of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling got $11,000 and Ken Cuccinelli got $10,000.”
Third, Kathy added, “Since 1997, Virginia Republicans have received $441,463 from Massey. (Democrats got all of $8,250.)”
Finally, as NLS wrote at the time, not only has Ken Cuccinelli NOT been “cracking down on [Richmond-based] Massey Energy and making sure Virginia miners are safe,” he ” is actually working with Massey Energy on his lawsuit against the EPA.” The question is, as NLS wrote:
Will he open up an investigation and ensure that the Massey mining site in Tazewell that has had so many violations of health and safety will comply with the law and ensure its workers safety? Or is he going to ignore safety warnings even after yesterday’s tragedy and hope by 2013 that Massey continues to reward him with large political contributions for his efforts to help in their legal actions against the EPA?
A year later, and one investigation that demonstrates beyond a doubt that Massey is a criminal enterprise, responsible for the deaths of the coal miners killed at Upper Big Branch, we have an answer to these questions: NO, Cuccinelli will NOT investigate Massey, and YES, he will ignore safety warnings and hope that Massey “continues to reward him with large political contributions for his efforts to help in their legal actions against the EPA.” Any further questions?