For the past year and a half, we’ve been calling for Massey Energy to lose its corporate charter for its criminal responsibility in the deaths of 29 coal miners when its Upper Big Branch mine in West Vriginia exploded in 2010. The company has paid fines admitting criminal liability in their deaths.

But money is not enough. A corporation that operates with such reckless disregard for human life should lose its right to exist. That’s why we’re calling on Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden to revoke Massey’s corporate charter. (Like most major corporations in America, Massey is legally based in Delaware.)

Justice here will take time, but today brings a new step forward, with one former mine official being sentenced to 21 months in prison as part of a federal criminal probe into Massey, stemming from the miner’s deaths.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article on the sentencing and the larger context:

Former Mine Official Sentenced to 21 Months

BECKLEY, W.Va.—A former superintendent at the Massey Energy Co. coal mine that exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners, was sentenced in federal court Thursday to 21 months in prison amid a continuing criminal probe.

Gary May, 43 years old, who oversaw underground operations in part of Massey’s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine, pleaded guilty in March to a felony count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government by impeding federal inspectors. Mr. May said he and other, unnamed, company officials warned miners that inspectors were coming and ordered subordinates to falsify a record book and disable a methane monitor so workers could keep mining coal.

The April 2010 blast in Montcoal, W.Va., was the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in 40 years. Federal regulators found that Massey failed to follow basic safety practices such as cleaning up coal dust. Investigators said broken water sprays enabled a spark to ignite a pocket of methane gas, triggering a coal-dust explosion that swept through 2 miles of underground tunnels.

Legal experts say the criminal probe is among the most extensive in the coal industry’s history, and charging mining officials with conspiracy is a unique strategy. The probe was initiated by Booth Goodwin, the U.S. attorney in Charleston, W.Va., weeks after the accident. Three former Massey officials have been charged. Two, including Mr. May, have agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors. The third was convicted and is serving a three-year prison sentence.

Mr. Goodwin said Thursday he believes there was a conspiracy at Massey that “certainly went beyond Upper Big Branch.”…

For the full story, click here.