West Virginia Mining Disaster CEO: safety regulators as "silly as global warming"

From Think Progress:

The death toll from Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion last week has reached a total of 29 miners, the worst coal disaster in 40 years. When the disaster occurred, Massey was contesting millions of dollars in major safety violations levied against the mine. At his Labor Day anti-union rally last year, Massey CEO Don Blankenship attacked the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), claiming it “seeks power over coal miners.” He mocked both “Washington politicians” and local elected officials who attempt to ensure miner safety, calling their efforts “as silly as global warming”:

We also endure a Mine Safety and Health Administration that seeks power over coal miners versus improving their safety and their health. As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.

Watch it:


Kevin Grandia is Operations Manager for DeSmogBlog and works for the Vancouver Public Relations company, Hoggan & Associates.


Blankenship’s public statements declaring his mines to be safe, that the regulators are incompetent, that he cares more than anyone about safety, are clearly obscene after the deaths of 29 of his miners. But the bigger question is this. WHY did federal regulators no SHUTDOWN this mine after so many violations? What on earth is the point of laws that are so easily ignored? Why is this man still in business? If Intel or Boeing killed 29 employees, after being warned and fined repeatedly many millions of dollars for safety violations, would they be allowed to operate? What the hell does a person or company have to do before they are shutdown? What is worse than preventable death? AKA manslaughter? How many laws broken? How many deaths? How much arrogance? Incompetence? Indifference?

This guy is a scoundrel. Samuel Johnson’s quote is appropriate here: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” The guy dresses up in a shirt with the US Flag as well as having a US Flag in the background.