NOTHING MERRY ABOUT OLD KING COAL

Even the Brothers Grimm could not have come up with a fairy tale as fanciful – or as grim – as the one concocted by top executives of Massey Energy.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
NOTHING MERRY ABOUT OLD KING COAL
/

Even the Brothers Grimm could not have come up with a fairy tale as fanciful – or as grim – as the one concocted by top executives of Massey Energy.

Massey, a $3.4 billion coal corporation, is the most dominant in Appalachia and also the most reckless, earning hundreds of mine safety citations every year. In 2010, its notoriously unsafe Upper Big Branch Mine exploded, killing 29 miners. Couldn’t have been predicted, much less prevented, declared Massey’s careless honchos. According to them, it was caused by a giant ball of methane that mysteriously bubbled from the ground and blew up the men. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! What a fantasy.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

Now for the grim reality. In an unusually blunt state report, an independent team of mining experts puts the blame for the West Virginia disaster directly on Massey Energy’s bosses and investors. “An accident waiting to happen,” says the report, showing that the corporation “operated in a profoundly reckless manner.” By disregarding safety in the pursuit of another almighty dollar, executives illegally allowed an intolerable level of explosive coal dust to accumulate, carrying the blast through the mine to kill men far from the first detonation.

Massey also built “a culture in which wrongdoing became acceptable,” say the investigators. Worker safety complaints were met with intimidation, safety inspectors were cast as “enemies,” and Massey used campaign contributions to keep public officials from cracking down.

Meanwhile – a year after 29 men were killed – Congressional Republicans and a few coal-state Democrats are still blocking reforms to stop the murderous malfeasance of corporate powers like Massey. To help break their stranglehold, and to honor those men, contact the Council for Occupational Safety and Health: www.coshnetwork.org.

“Report Faults Mine Owner For Explosion That Killed 29,” May 20, 2011.

“The Truth About Upper Big Branch,” May 20, 2011.

“Massey Energy Company Income Statement,” www.dailyfinance.com, May 24, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

Never miss a word from Hightower– sign up today:

Send this to a friend