Energy & Environment

Supreme Court won’t take convicted ex-coal boss’s case


The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to consider an appeal from a former coal boss convicted for conspiring to break federal mine safety standards.

Don Blankenship, who was CEO of Massey Energy Co., was convicted in 2015 on charges stemming from the investigation into the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, which killed 29 miners in West Virginia.

He was later sentenced to one year in prison, which he completed earlier this year.

{mosads}Blankenship argues he is “more than 100 percent innocent,” and his conviction is part of a political persecution by people including former President Obama and former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), now a senator.

He has consistently said that investigators were wrong to say that Massey management was responsible for the blast, and claimed that federal officials’ instructions to reduce ventilation in the mine caused it.

His Supreme Court appeal rested on arguments that Blankenship’s trial court judge incorrectly interpreted the definition of “willful” violations of federal safety laws, because Blankenship was not aware of the violations.

Blankenship’s attorneys also argued that they were unconstitutionally prohibited from questioning a witness at the trial.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rejected an appeal by Blankenship in January.

Tags Coal Joe Manchin mine safety Supreme Court
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