Mine Workers Cheer as Supreme Court Upholds Blankenship Conviction

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The Mine Workers are cheering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on charges related to the fatal Upper Big Branch explosion at Massey’s mine more than five years ago.

Without comment, the justices refused to even accept Blankenship’s appeal of his conviction for falsifying data and other crimes in connection with the blast, which killed 29 miners in West Virginia. Investigators later traced the cause to the firm, which, under Blankenship’s direction, prioritized profits over safety. Blankenship served a year in prison.

“I join with the families of the 29 victims of the Upper Big Branch disaster, as well as the families of the other 25 people killed on Massey Energy property while Don Blankenship was CEO of that company, in applauding the Supreme Court’s rejection of Blankenship’s appeal of his federal criminal conviction,” Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said.      

“It’s instructive to look at the record. First, Don’s whack-job theory of what happened at the UBB mine has been deemed false by two state investigations, one federal investigation and one done by the UMWA.

“Second, he has been convicted in federal court of setting up a scheme to circumvent federal mine safety and health law. His appeals have been denied at every judicial level, including now by the Supreme Court. He served an all-too-short sentence in a federal penitentiary for his crime. He is a convict, and he will always be one.

“No one believes his story about UBB because it is simply not true, even though he continues to pollute the airwaves in West Virginia with his ridiculous claims. It’s time for him to go back to Las Vegas and allow the families of those killed under his watch at Massey to live their lives free from his miserable attempts to blame others for his own misdeeds.”  

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