Supreme Court denies appeal from ex-CEO associated with W.Va. mine blast

An vehicle is seen leaving at Performance Coal Company, a subsidiary of Massey Energy, in Montcoal, West Virginia, on April 7, 2010. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI

Oct. 10 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s appeal of a conviction stemming from a fatal 2010 mine explosion in Montcoal, W.Va.

Blankenship earlier this year wrapped up his 1-year sentence at a Bakersfield, Calif., low-security federal prison on a charge of conspiracy to violate mine safety standards. His appeal centered on the contention that a District Court judge should not have directed a jury that “reckless disregard” of federal safety standards could lead to a conviction, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The Supreme Court named Blankenship’s case Tuesday among dozens of others it chose not to take on.

The mine that Massey owned received a number of safety violations for improper ventilation prior to the April 2010 methane gas and coal dust explosion that killed killed 29 miners. In 2014, Blankenship was indicted on a number of charges related to his alleged mismanagement.

The indictment said Blankenship “fostered and participated in an understanding that perpetuated [the mine’s] practice of routine safety violations, in order to produce more coal, avoid the costs of following safety laws and make more money.”


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