Deutsche Bank

The Epic Rise and Fall of Don Blankenship, former Massey Energy CEO

Three years ago, 29 miners died at the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch mine. It was the worst mining disaster in decades, caused by a methane-fueled blast that was so strong it killed miners more than a mile away and left steel rail lines tangled.

Appalachia has seen its share of these sorts of accidents over the years and normally companies get fined, but mine operators almost never face criminal charges. This time was different.

For the past two years, the U.S. Attorney in West Virginia, R. Booth Goodwin II, has been systematically working his way up Massey’s hierarchy, arguing that beyond the managers who supervised that mine, there was a broader conspiracy led by still unnamed “directors, officers, and agents.” Goodwin has based his prosecutions on conspiracy charges rather than on violations of specific health and safety regulations, which means he can reach further up into the corporate structure. So far, he has convicted four employees including the Upper Big Branch mine superintendent who admitted he disabled a methane monitor and falsified mine records.

But in February, the case took a surprising turn. In pleading guilty to conspiracy charges, Dave Hughart, former President of a Massey subsidiary who is cooperating with the government, said that the person who had alerted him to impending mine inspections was Massey’s CEO, Don Blankenship – an accusation that sent a gasp through the entire coal industry.

Deutsche Bank Debunks Skeptics, Focuses Investment on Global Warming Solutions

Deutsche Bank’s Climate Change Advisors released an excellent report this week drawing the “clear conclusion” that “the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat.” 

The report, “Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” deftly refutes each of the major conspiracy howlers often made by climate skeptics and deniers – that global warming is a hoax, that the globe has been cooling since 1998, that higher temperatures caused by CO2 emissions will be good for people and agriculture, and of course the Climategate nonsense alleging climate scientists are part of a grand conspiracy.

The claims of conspiracy are not borne out by the facts,” the report states.

The bank’s Climate Change Advisors, working with the Columbia University Climate Center at the Earth Institute, easily debunked each of the denier myths, and noted that extensive scientific studies have confirmed the world is facing a long-term climate threat.

“Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking,” the report states.

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