October 6, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Former Massey Energy Company head Donald L. Blankenship went on trial Oct. 1 in Charleston, West Virginia, on federal charges stemming from the explosion that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal on April 29, 2010.
He is accused of deliberately ignoring safety rules, conspiring to conceal safety violations, and lying to stockholders and federal regulators about the company’s finances, and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Four Massey managers have been convicted of charges related to the explosion, the worst mining disaster in the U.S. since 1970, but Blankenship is the first coal-company boss in the Appalachians ever prosecuted for workers’ deaths. The trial is expected to last at least a month. Read more