"Though miners often grumble about the black helicopter Mr. Blankenship uses to get around the state, he is quick to portray himself as just like the people who work for his company. Last year, he hosted a huge July 4 celebration for workers, with Ted Nugent as the headline act,” the Times reports.
The Post profile starts with this assessment: “Don L. Blankenship, the blunt, self-assured chief executive of Massey Energy -- parent company of the West Virginia coal mine where at least 25 miners died this week -- doesn't back down from a fight.”
It then relates an anecdote from a “bitter labor dispute” in the 1980s in which Blankenship declared himself “ready to be killed” in the struggle.
The Los Angeles Times updates the rescue effort at the mine where four miners remain missing.
“Four rescue crews made their way into the Upper Big Branch mine just before 5 a.m. Eastern time Thursday in an attempt to reach four miners unaccounted for since the devastating explosion that killed 25 coworkers Monday, Gov. Joe Manchin III told reporters,” the LA Times reports.
* House Democrat to introduce legislation to collect billions for offshore drilling
President Obama’s plan to open new areas offshore to oil and gas development is spurring a race for royalties, in the Boston Globe.
“At issue is a hotly contested law that, as read by the court, has allowed companies to avoid paying royalties on oil drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Critics, including Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden — who plans to introduce legislation next week — now seek to force companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell to begin paying on those existing leases as a condition of obtaining new ones,” the Globe reports.
The payments could add $50 billion to federal coffers, according to the newspaper.
* Dot Earth, now an opinion blog, considers the ‘energy gap’
Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth blog has moved from the news section of the New York Times to the opinion section. It's still worth reading.
Last night, Revkin posted on the energy gap – the difficulty of providing enough energy to meet growing demand. It’s complicated obviously by concerns about climate change, which most scientists think is happening in large measure because of the amount of carbon dioxide released in the air from the burning of fossil fuels.
“Even with spreading efforts to conserve energy, a world heading toward roughly 9 billion people seeking decent lives will require far more of this resource than today’s supplies and systems can provide. There is already an enormous energy gap on the planet, with some 2 billion people lacking the simple gift of illumination or a clean source of heat for cooking meals,” Revkin writes.