Thursday, December 3, 2015

Former chief of Massey Energy guilty of just one misdemeanor in Upper Big Branch explosion

Here is the lede from Alan Blinder's report in today's New York Times:
Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company was widely criticized after 29 workers were killed in the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, was convicted Thursday of conspiring to violate federal safety standards, becoming the most prominent American coal executive ever convicted of a crime related to mining deaths. 
But in a substantial defeat for the Justice Department, the verdict, announced in Federal District Court here, exonerated Mr. Blankenship, Massey’s former chief executive, of three felony charges that could have led to a prison term of 30 years. Instead, after a long and complex trial that began on Oct. 1, jurors convicted Mr. Blankenship only of a single misdemeanor charge that carried a maximum of a year in prison.
Read more about the Upper Big Branch episode here, here, here, here and here.  Among other things, these prior posts discuss the 21-month sentence and $20,000 fine imposed on Gary May, the Upper Big Branch mine superintendent.  Blankenship will get off more lightly than that.

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