Blankenship Asks Trump to Resist Punishing Coal Execs

May 16, 2017

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship has asked President Donald Trump to resist attempts in Congress to enhance criminal penalties for coal executives who violate mine safety and health standards.

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Blankenship, who recently was freed from federal prison, also asked the president in a letter Tuesday to re-examine a federal investigation into the nation's worst coal mining disaster in four decades.

Blankenship served a year in prison for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and others have tried without success to pass legislation to stiffen penalties on mine safety crimes. Manchin, a Democrat, didn't immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.