It appears as though Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, in whose coal mine 29 people died earlier this year in an entirely preventable disaster, has been booted from the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce.
As recently as June 29, Massey was listed as a member of the Chamber’s Board. But now, his name doesn’t appear on the list of current board members, and his specific profile page has been deleted from the website.
Blankenship’s bio on Massey Energy’s website still says he is a director of the Chamber. I requested comment from the Chamber of Commerce to confirm, but they have not responded at this time (updated below). Massey Energy also has not replied to my request for confirmation.
Besides sacrificing the lives of his employees for profit, Blankenship is primarily known for his rabid denial of climate change, in addition to his blind defense of corporations. (He once said that safety regulators were “as silly as global warming.”)
Ideologically, Blankenship is right in line with the Chamber of Commerce. As a member of the Board of Directors, Blankenship had a hand in directing the chamber’s finances, political expenditures, and campaigns. Last year, while prominent brand names left the Chamber of Commerce in droves due to the corporate group’s war against climate change legislation, Blankenship wrote an op-ed to defend the Chamber’s position.
But if it’s true that Blankenship got the boot from the Chamber’s Board, as the evidence online suggests, it appears the Chamber of Commerce drew a line: yes to denying the reality of climate change, no to killing your employees. It’s a step, I guess.
UPDATE: Tita Freeman of the Chamber of Commerce says Blankenship’s turn was up: “Don Blankenship’s term on the Chamber board expired in June of this year. He served 3 consecutive terms of 2 years each, which is the maximum per Chamber bylaws. As such, it was a routine rotation off of the board.”
Couldn’t come any sooner for the Chamber.