Danse Macabre: The Republicans, the corporate lobbyists, and the ghosts of dead coal miners

By: Thursday July 15, 2010 11:42 am

There seemed to be an otherworldly presence in the hearing room Tuesday when a Congressional committee began formal consideration of new coal mine safety legislation.

I was physically far away, watching on C-SPAN, so I couldn’t tell whether the unseen spirits were the ghosts of the 29 miners killed three months ago in a preventable explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia — or the malignant aura of corporate power that seems to haunt the halls of Congress.

Massey Energy Turned off Methane Detector at Doomed Mine

By: Thursday July 15, 2010 10:24 am

On February 13, 2010, the management at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine ordered an electrician to disable a methane alarm that kept going off, according to NPR. This is the equivalent of being annoyed that your fire alarm is going off, so you turn it off; then your house burns down and kills you and almost everyone inside.

Massey Energy’s Bogus Employee Safety Survey

By: Wednesday July 14, 2010 2:46 pm

After yesterday’s hearing on new mine and workplace safety legislation in the House – legislation necessary because of the negligence of Don Blankenship’s Massey Energy in the deaths of 29 miners earlier this year – Massey Energy’s press office made a funny.

In order to combat the clear evidence that Massey puts profits over worker safety, the coal company thought it would be a good idea to show just how supportive miners are of the company’s record. Massey claims 97% of its coal miners believe safety is important to the company.

Can Congress (finally) Get Coal Mine Safety Right?

By: Monday July 12, 2010 4:45 pm

Tomorrow afternoon, Congress will once again take up new legislative proposals to improve coal mine safety. After decades of repeated mining disasters, countless unnecessary deaths and injuries, and continual demands for remedial action, can Congress finally get mining safety legislation right? The outward signs are not encouraging.

Massey Energy Sues MSHA, Claiming Regulator “Violated Its Constitutional Rights”

By: Wednesday June 23, 2010 2:25 pm

This takes some stones. Massey Energy, whose mine explosion in West Virginia in April killed 29 people, has decided to sue the Mine Safety and Health Administration, along with three of its regulators, over MSHA’s denial of Massey’s preferred mine ventilation plans.

Massey’s lawsuit says that federal law didn’t allow the company to challenge MSHA’s requirements, saying such a restriction “violated its constitutional rights,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Don Blankenship Launches into Conspiratorial, Anti-Union Screed on Local TV

By: Tuesday May 4, 2010 4:57 pm

Massey Energy CEO doesn’t like unions. Not breaking news, I know, but it was made ever more clear by Blankenship himself as he launched into a conspiratorial anti-union tirade on local televsion in West Virginia this weekend. He also claimed Jay Rockefeller is “evil.”

5,214 Workers Died on the Job in 2008

By: Wednesday April 28, 2010 1:54 pm

When President Obama eulogized the 29 dead miners of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion this weekend, he noted that no one should “put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work.” Unfortunately, it’s not just miners who fear for their lives while making a paycheck; deaths on the job are unfortunately entirely too common. In its annual report on worker deaths, the AFL-CIO found that 5,214 workers died on the job in 2008. That’s 14 people a day.

Obama, Biden to Attend Miners’ Memorial in West Virginia; Obama to Deliver Eulogy

By: Monday April 19, 2010 6:07 pm

The White House announced today that President Obama and Vice President Biden will both attend a funeral service Sunday for the 29 fallen miners of Upper Big Branch Mine. Obama will deliver a eulogy for the miners.

Video: President Obama Speaks on Initial Mine Explosion Report, Calls Out Massey Energy

By: Thursday April 15, 2010 2:35 pm

President Obama spoke this morning on the initial report from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Mine Safety administrator Joe Main on what happened at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Obama notably called out “safety violators like Massey Energy” and specifically singled out the pattern of Massey and other mine operators to appeal violations to avoid [...]

Limbaugh: Where Was the Union?

By: Tuesday April 13, 2010 12:34 pm

Rush Limbaugh admits unions make mines safe, hold companies accountable. Heads explode nationwide.

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