A Gazette editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Don Blankenship, former Massey Energy CEO, was sentenced to a year in prison, another year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to violate federal mine safety rules at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County. Twenty-nine miners died there in an underground explosion six years ago this week. Finally, a measure of justice for the workers who died and the families who lost dear members.
“Safety simply has to be paramount,” U.S. District Judge Irene Berger said during the sentencing on Wednesday. Berger gave the maximum sentence allowed.
This is a historic and significant event in federal court in Charleston — a wealthy and powerful CEO being held accountable for lethal safety violations.
West Virginia miners — and workers across the country — have died for generations. After their deaths, people investigate and report and often pass laws and write rules to keep the same tragedy from being repeated. But those rules cannot work to prevent workplace deaths if they are not followed…