Thursday, December 3, 2015

Coal baron Don Blankenship convicted on one misdemeanor count for mine safety breaches

Former Massey Eenergy CEO Don Blankenship - AP Photo
Ex- Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was convicted today on one misdemeanor
count for conspiracy  to violate coal mine safety rules - AP photo

For the first time in living memory, the top officer of a major coal company has been convicted for crimes arising from worker deaths in the notoriously dangerous mining industry, Politico reports.
A federal jury in West Virginia today found coal baron Don Blankenship guilty of flouting mine safety laws arising from a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 workers.
The verdict remains a significant victory for federal prosecutors, who apparently persuaded the jury that Blankenship possessed prior knowledge of unsafe conditions at the Upper Big Branch mine and that he willfully broke mine safety laws.
An investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration blamed the fatal disaster in part on “unlawful policies and practices ... including the intimidation of miners” who were discouraged from reporting safety violations.
Blankenship, who was chairman and CEO of Massey Energy at the time of the accident, was found guilty of conspiracy to violate mine safety regulations, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of one year imprisonment. But a jury cleared him of two other counts arising from alleged securities law violations tied to his company's statements on mine safety.

Read the full story here 

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