CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Don Blankenship surrendered Thursday to federal authorities at a California prison to begin serving a one-year sentence for conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners died in the nation’s worst coal-mining disaster in a generation.
The former Massey CEO —- once among the most powerful men in the region — reported to a federal prison north of Los Angeles, after an appeals court flatly turned down his bid to remain free while he appeals his conviction.
“Donald L. Blankenship is in custody at Correctional Institution (CI) Taft in California,” said a short statement issued by Justin Long, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
The Taft facility near Bakersfield, California, has both a low-security main institution and a minimum-security “satellite camp”.
It appears to be the only lower-security federal prison that meets the bureau’s general requirement of being located within 500 miles of Blankenship’s home, which the Mingo County native now says is Las Vegas…