Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Massey Energy Co. has been cited over and over for repeated mine safety violations in recent years, racking up hundreds of penalties at the Upper Big Branch mine, where an explosion on Monday killed at least 25 workers. In the USA, where less than 20% of miners are UMW members, energy corporations routinely factor dangerous working conditions into their cost saving calculations, figuring it’s cheaper to pay the fines than make their mines safe for the workers. Thus it is under 21st century, deregulated, union-busting, free-market capitalism, where they party like it’s 1910, and the fact that the image of George W. Bush is used in this mine-safety poster gives a slight indication of how long this murderous cynicism has been going on.

"They placed profits over safety repeatedly," said Tonya L. Hatfield, a lawyer in the coal-mining town of Gilbert, W.Va., who has sued Massey in cases over a 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine, where 12 miners were trapped and two died. In that case the company agreed to pay $2.5 million in criminal fines. The fine, when combined with $1.5 million in civil penalties, was apparently the largest ever imposed in a coal-mining death case.
"Aracoma's conduct in this case is clear and uncontroverted," said Logan Circuit Judge Roger L. Perry, as reported by two local papers. "Given the voluntary admissions of guilt, it is clear not only that Aracoma acted with deliberate intent regarding the unsafe working conditions in its coal mine, it acted with criminal intent." (Click here for more)

Click here for some second hand Merle Travis and a video

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