Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster Report: Justice?
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration released a report on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. Via the Huffington Post, here’s a summary:
Mine Safety Administration Fine: $10.8 Million; Payment to DOJ to avoid prosecution: $210 million
Safety Citations: 361
Flagrant Violations of Safety: 21
Size of report: 80,000 pages
Number of miner victims: 29
“The report comes right on the heels of an announcement earlier today that the Department of Justice had reached an agreement with Massey’s corporate parent, Alpha Natural Resources. The company has agreed to pay $210 million to avoid prosecution, including $1.5 million to each of the victim’s families.
Alpha purchased Massey earlier this year for $7.1 billion, taking on any outstanding liabilities stemming from the disaster. The settlement bars Massey as a company from any criminal prosecutions but leaves open the possibility of indictments against individuals. A Massey security official was indicted for obstructing justice earlier this year.”
And just as importantly:
“Despite the condemnations from lawmakers, congressional leaders still have not managed to move any legislation to improve mine safety in the 18 months since the disaster. Members of both the House and Senate have introduced mine safety bills that would make it easier for the government to shut down mines that show a pattern of safety violations, but such legislation is unlikely to pass a Republican-led House determined to limit regulations on businesses.”
So, will MSA collect? Will any of the miners’ families collect? Will anyone in upper management of Massey EVER see the inside of a court room (much less a jail cell?)? Will anyone who was a member of the Board of Directors ever see the inside of a court room? Inquiring minds would like to know.