A year after the deadly blast at the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, it's official: The disaster was Massey's fault. I'm not sure what the team of independent investigators thought they were going to find — vengeful sprites? A cursed sarcophagus? Workers deliberately blowing themselves up for funsies? — but they found what we all expected: The company's negligence was responsible for the deaths of 29 miners.
The report calls Massey's safety practices "profoundly reckless," and says that "The story of Upper Big Branch is a cautionary tale of hubris." That's pretty damning, especially for an investigative team put together by then-governor and permanent coal-humper Joe Manchin. Investigators also found that Massey's story about what happened at the mine is something of a fairy tale. The company says that a million cubic feet of methane suddenly jumped out of the mine in a way nobody could have expected. The findings: That's about as far-fetched as it sounds.
- Mine Owner’s Negligence Led to Blast, Study Finds, New York Times
Get Grist in your inbox