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Indicted Massey boss gives own version of events that caused Upper Big Branch mine explosion

12 May 2016

Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $250,000 on April 6 for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine coal mine explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 workers in 2010. Blankenship was given the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor conviction and was also sentenced to a year of supervised probation after release.

Blankenship, who headed Massey from 2000 to 2010, was convicted in December 2015 of conspiring to falsify dust samples at the mine, but was acquitted on felony charges related to the accident. His lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.

In the West Virginia Record on May 12, Blankenship published a rebuttal of the case made against him in court. In it, he says he has had to endure an “incredible injustice” and that “no coal company ever focused more on safety…than Massey”.

He repeated his lawyers’ defence that evidence showed the blast was caused by a natural gas incursion into the mine rather than a coal bed methane or coal dust explosion.

See below for a link to the West Virginia Record article.



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