Legal Precedent Demands Massey CEO Be Sent to Jail for Deaths of 29 Coal Miners
Interview with Rena Steinzor, professor at the University of Maryland Law School and president of the Center for Progressive Reform, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
The worst mining disaster in 40 years took place at a mine owned by Massey Energy in southern West Virginia, where 29 miners were killed on April 5. In just the past four years, Massey has been cited for more than 500 health and safety violations in its mines by federal inspectors who stated that 90 of them were deemed significant and due to the company's "reckless disregard" for the safety of its workers. Under CEO Don Blankenship, Massey has challenged almost every single violation, delaying implementation of necessary changes.
In the wake of the Massey mine explosion, the Obama administration has launched a civil investigation to better understand what happened and to put in place procedures to prevent a repeat of similar disasters in the future. The FBI is also conducting a criminal investigation.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Rena Steinzor, a professor at the University of Maryland law school and president of the Center for Progressive Reform, a "virtual thinktank" of 50 experts around the country who focus on issues of the environment, health and safety. She explains the precedents for holding company executives criminally liable in fatal accidents and why she supports prosecuting Don Blankenship personally for the deaths of the West Virginia miners.
Contact the Rena Steinzor of the Center for Progressive Reform at (410) 706-0564 or visit the group's website at www.progressivereform.org
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