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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/67...tion-blames-massey-energy-for-mining-disaster


http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9032283

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/05/massey-energy-caused-blast-report-says

"The report, which was commissioned by West Virginia's former governor, noted that 18 current and former executives [2] invoked their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and refused to cooperate with investigators. Nonetheless, investigators concluded that the preventable disaster was a result of a “total and catastrophic systemic failure” by Massey Energy."




A wide-ranging investigation into a West Virginia coal mining disaster that killed 29 men last year found that the accident “was manmade and could have been prevented.”

A final report released Thursday on the disaster from a panel of independent experts blames Massey Energy, the operator of the Upper Big Branch mine, for the April 5, 2010, explosion.

The report is the first major investigation into the causes of the disaster.

“Ultimately, the responsibility for the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine lies with the management of Massey Energy,” the report says. “The company broke faith with its workers by frequently and knowingly violating the law and blatantly disregarding known safety practices while creating a public perception that its operations exceeded industry standards.”

The disaster was a result of failures of three “basic safety practices,” the report says. These include: “a properly functioning ventilating system, adherence to federal and state rock dusting standards; and proper maintenance of safety features on mine machinery,” according to the report. Rock dusting standards are aimed at keeping explosive coal dust under control.

Massey Energy objected to some of the report’s findings Thursday, arguing the explosion was a result of circumstances beyond the company’s control. The explosion, Massey general counsel Shane Harvey said, was caused by a surge in “methane-rich natural gas,” not coal dust.

“We believe that the explosion was caused by a massive inundation of methane-rich natural gas,” Harvey said in a statement. “Our experts feel confident that coal dust did not play an important role.”

The investigation was conducted by J. Davitt McAteer, who served as the assistant secretary for the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) during the Clinton administration.

McAteer, who is vice president for sponsored programs at Wheeling-Jesuit University, was tasked with investigating the disaster by then-Gov. Joe Manchin (D) shortly after the explosion.

Broadly, the report faults inadequate federal and state mining safety regulations — specifically, it criticizes a process under federal and state regulations whereby mine operators are afforded the opportunity to appeal citations and penalties. “Mine operators know they can contest violations and tie them up in litigation for years,” the report says. “They also recognize that by litigating citations, the company stands a good chance of getting the fines reduced to a fraction of the original amount.”

Efforts to pass mine-safety legislation have stalled in Congress.


Shortly following the Upper Big Branch disaster, Democrats in both chambers introduced legislation to bolster the nation's mine-safety rules, including provisions to hike fines for safety hazards; expand whistleblower protections; empower federal investigators to close unsafe mines more easily; and grant regulators subpoena power when investigating mining accidents.

Republicans say the Democratic reforms are too tough on the coal industry and threaten vital jobs in corners of the country already struggling with high unemployment. Critics also say Congress shouldn't adopt new mine-safety protections before the cause of the UBB blast is known with certainty.

Last July, the House measure passed by a partisan vote through the Education and Labor panel, then led by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). But it didn't win the two-thirds majority required to pass a floor vote in December. The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), was never taken up at all.

Earlier this year, MSHA proposed new rules making it easier for federal regulators to shutter mines found to show a "pattern" of safety violations. But mine-safety advocates on Capitol Hill, including both Miller and Rockefeller, contend that legislation is still needed to strengthen miner protections further.

Rockefeller and Miller have reintroduced their mine-safety bills in the 112th Congress, though neither piece of legislation has gone anywhere yet.
Miller on Thursday said the report's findings should push Congress to pass mine-safety legislation.

“It’s time to close these loopholes and hold mine owners accountable who operate in a reckless disregard of human life. While Congress continues to be gridlocked by a pay-to-play political system, miners are put in grave danger by allowing the next Upper Big Branch to happen," Miller said in a statement.

"Voluntary safety programs and self-policing, as the industry is advocating, is not the solution and will only put our nation’s mines back to the dark ages. There is no reason why we cannot act with a sense of urgency on these reasonable and responsible recommendations,” Miller said."


"Investigators said the coal giant had “used the leverage of jobs it provided to attempt to control West Virginia’s political system [4],” casting inspectors, regulators, and even politicians and community residents as enemies. According to the report, the company’s former CEO, Don Blankenship instilled fear in local politicians by spending “vast amounts of money to influence elections.”























"Blankenship received $2 million when he retired at the end of last year, and is scheduled to receive another $10 million in July.

He’s expected to stay on as a consultant."

:down:




Just like banks.....:down:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Massey Energy Seeks CEO

Date: 2010-12-06, 5:37PM EST
Reply to: [email protected]

Massey Energy seeks a new Chief Executive Officer to carry on its important work destroying the environment and jeopardizing the health and safety of its employees. This position will oversee all Massey Energy operations (but don't worry - stringent or really any oversight is not a corporate priority).

Key responsibilities:
-Ducking responsibility for grave accidents and enthusiastically (and with a straight face) shifting the blame to government agencies created to prevent such incidents.
-Denying climate change, hating the environment and hating anyone who might enjoy the environment.
-Trading campaign cash for congressional favor.
-Threatening members of the media.
-Personally persuading workers to abandon union organizing.

Other qualities of a successful candidate:
-Inattention to detail.
-A really, really, really short fuse.
-Love of vacationing with judicial and political figures responsible for decisions/rulings regarding Massey.
-Ability to whine in high stress work environments, despite media criticism.
-General flagrant disregard for miner safety a plus.

Outside of the purview of the position:
-Addressing safety violations (The Upper Big Branch mine has been cited for 1,342 safety violations since 2005 – whatevs.)
-Reporting accidents (Massey Energy did not report more than 20 accidents at the explosive mine for two years before the explosion.)

Must be comfortable in office dress code, camouflage.

Salary is $17.8 million, the highest in the coal industry, and can be expected to double from one calendar year to the next. Bonuses frequently awarded for absolutely no reason at all.

This is a full time permanent position and will not be eliminated like other Massey Energy jobs as the company increases reliance on mountaintop removal coal mining, which in addition to destroying West Virginian’s livelihoods and communities, has the added benefit of destroying mountains, valleys and waterways.

(For more information about the coal industry visit http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/.)

Compensation: $17.8 million + bonuses
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
 

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If the CEO willfully ignored safety regulations he should go to jail for murder.
 

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All of this seems to presume that mining accidents are 100% preventable. I think they probably are not. Mining of any kind is among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Massey may be at fault here, but there will be other accidents, and every single one of them will be blamed on companies because bad luck can't be sued.
 

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All of this seems to presume that mining accidents are 100% preventable. I think they probably are not. Mining of any kind is among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Massey may be at fault here, but there will be other accidents, and every single one of them will be blamed on companies because bad luck can't be sued.
:agree: All miners understand there is a risk associated with their job. They also assume their employer is providing a work place with a minimum standard of safety.
 
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