Does the name “Don Blankenship” ring a bell? It should.Yesterday, he was convicted of a federal charge stemming from a deadly coal mine blast that left 29 miners dead at the Big Branch Mine in 2010.
Blankenship is now the most prominent coal boss to be convicted of a charge connected to a fatal mining accident. Blankenship, whose businesses came under intense scrutiny after the accident, was charged with conspiring to violate mine safety standards, all while deceiving investors and regulators.
A jury acquitted Blankenship of making false statements and securities fraud, but prosecutors could only convict on one of the three charges.
The charge stemming from the Big Branch accident, which is the deadliest in decades, carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison on the misdemeanor conspiracy charge.
Don Blankenship has to answer for his crimes, and Massey Energy should too.
An independent report investigating the West Virginia explosion, found Massey Energy responsible for violating and neglecting safety conditions that caused the deadly accident. Massey’s parent corporation agreed to criminal and civil penalties, which amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist for the corporation.
Massey Energy must be held responsible for the death of its 29 miners.
Revoking Massey Energy’s corporate charter in Delaware will hold the corporation accountable and send a message that they cannot continue doing business while breaking the law. The fact that Massy has since merged with another coal mining company, Alpha Natural Resources, does not remove the need to hold Massey Energy accountable where its charter is based.
A corporation is an artificial entity. It exists only because we the people — represented by a state government — allot a charter. Just as we the people can grant that charter, we can also revoke it. Most major corporations in the U.S., including Massey Energy, are legally based in Delaware. To revoke a charter, the state of Delaware must take action.
More information on our call to revoke Massey Energy’s corporate charter is available, here.
And, watch the video below to see how Corporate Charter Revocation can hold Massey Energy and others responsible for their actions.
More coverage on the Don Blankenship Conviction