Upper Big Branch

Courts
2:36 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Judge Denies Blankenship Travel Home for Holidays

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

  A judge won't let a West Virginia ex-coal baron facing criminal charges head home for the holidays.

A docket entry on Monday shows U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley denied ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's motion to travel home for the holidays.

During his case, Blankenship's travel is restricted to southern West Virginia, Pike County, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C. Other travel needs judicial approval.

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Inside Appalachia
3:39 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Coal Co. Operating Above the Law, Revitalizing Coal Country, 14-Year-Old TN Banjo Picker & more

Credit Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

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Inside Appalachia
6:26 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Coal Co. Operating Above the Law, Revitalizing Coal Country, 14-Year-Old TN. Banjo Picker & more

Credit Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

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West Virginia Morning
8:51 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Garbage to be Turned into Fuel in Berkeley County

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports on “resource recovery,” a polite way to say how household garbage can be used for fuel.  And Jessica Lilly joins Beth Vorhees to describe the scene at the arraignment of former Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship Thursday in Beckley.

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Developing
1:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Blankenship Pleads Not Guilty, Bond Set at $5 Million

Sketches of Don Blankenship and his attorney during arraignment hearing.
Credit Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship stood with three attorneys as he pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Beckley. Blankenship was indicted on charges of conspiring to violate mine safety rules and then lying about it.  Blankenship appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort.   

Families Can't Hide Their Emotions

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West Virginia Morning
8:12 am
Fri November 14, 2014

UBB Victim's Father Reacts to Blankenship Indictment

On West Virginia Morning, Jessica Lilly talks with the father of one of the victims of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion who welcomes the news that former CEO of the company that owned the mine has been indicted.  And Dave Mistich reports from Parkersburg about the posted signs asking people not to give money to panhandlers.

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UBB Investigation
4:31 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship Indicted on Four Federal Charges

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges Thursday. The charges stem from a years-long investigation led by the FBI and the United States Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General into an April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine owned by Massey that killed 29 miners. 

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4:14 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Longtime Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship Indicted

As The Charleston Gazete's Ken Ward reports, former Massey Enegry CEO Don Blankenship was indicted Thursday on federal charges that he violated mine safety laws at the Upper Big Mine before an April 2010 explosion killed 29 miners. The indictident comes from a years-long investigation from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office in West Virginia's Southern Distict.
  • Source: Wvgazette
  • | Via: The Charleston Gazette
Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive of Massey Energy, was indicted today on charges that he violated federal mine safety laws at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. U.S.
Black Lung Regulations
4:47 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

New Black Lung Regs Take Effect

Credit msha.gov

The first part of the landmark regulation meant to prevent black lung disease takes effect Friday. This phase is meant to fix regulatory loopholes in the sampling process.


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Mine Safety
5:44 am
Thu May 1, 2014

152 Citations Issued During MSHA March Mine Inspections

Credit AllVoices.com

  Federal impact inspections at U.S. mines in March resulted in 152 citations and 14 orders.   The Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 10 coal mines and three other mines. Six citations and five failure orders were issued at Peabody Midwest Mining LLC's Francisco underground mine in Gibson County, Indiana. MSHA says a loose coal rib put miners at risk of being hit by falling rock. In addition, combustible coal particles and dust were present on the belt structure and drive motors, power cables and other surfaces. 

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Mine Safety
12:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Four Years After UBB: Families of Victims Say It Is Still 'Us' vs. 'Them' in West Virginia Mines

Credit Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Four years after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch killed 29 miners and injured two others, an investigation by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin continues to examine the practices of executives at then-owner Massey Energy. The mine’s current operator, Alpha Natural Resources, has established Running Right, a leadership academy focused on empowering miners to address safety concerns.

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West Virginia Morning
8:20 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Remembering UBB, Protecting the Country's Waterways and the Song of the Week

Four years after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at a Raleigh County mine, Upper Big Branch miners' family members and friends discuss what it takes to change a culture focused on production to one with an emphasis on safety. Sen. Joe Manchin's Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act unanimously passes its first stop on a long road on Capitol Hill, and Todd Snider performs "Stomp and Holler" on the Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

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Mine Disaster
4:31 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

UBB Families: "We Want Answers"

Family and friends of the 29 miners killed at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010 protested in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Family and friends of the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010 gathered in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston Wednesday demanding answers from the Department of Justice.

"It's been four years," said Sheeren Adkins, who lost her son Jason in the blast. "If they were going to find something, they would have found it by now."

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Memorial
10:39 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Event to Honor Upper Big Branch Victims

Credit Mine Safety and Health Administration

Friends and families of victims of a West Virginia mine explosion four years ago are meeting to remember their lost loved ones.
 
A gathering for those affected by the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster will take place Wednesday afternoon in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston. Saturday is the four-year anniversary of the explosion that killed 29 miners.

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Upper Big Branch
3:56 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Senator Claims Misrepresentation in UBB Film

Credit Ellen Smith

Updated Tuesday April 1, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin wants the company to pull the entire documentary from the internet, discontinue distribution, and remove all references of the Senator. According to a release, Manchin today sent a letter to Adroit Films, the firm that filmed and produced the Don Blankenship-funded documentary, demanding the company to remove what Manchin is calling "propaganda" from all websites.

Senator Manchin wrote, in part: “Your fraudulent behavior in securing the interview and your misrepresentation of my interview are actionable offenses. I expect you to cease distribution of this film and remove any references to my name, image, and likeness.  Please respond to this letter in writing immediately to confirm what actions you are taking in response to my request.”

The release goes on to say Senator Manchin’s office has repeatedly attempted to contact Adroit Films via phone and email. Adroit did not immediately return our requests for comment.

Updated Monday March 31, 2014 at 5:24 p.m. 

It appears that Adroit Films has pulled the individual interviews recorded for Upper Big Branch: Never Again.

The interviews were available earlier today to watch on YouTube along with the full documentary earlier today.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship released a documentary today claiming it “looks at what really happened at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.”

The film, released on YouTube Monday, is titled Upper Big Branch: Never Again, debuted just days before the fourth anniversary of the mining disaster that took lives of 29 miners.

Produced by Adroit Films, the documentary disputes the findings of the Mine Safety and Health Administration following the 2010 accident.

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Upper Big Branch
1:48 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Former UBB Superintendent Wants Early Prison Release

Credit Rick Neuhoff / Flickr

A former mine boss is asking a federal appeals court to toss out his conviction for his actions at the West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 miners in 2010. 

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Arts & Culture
12:16 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Student Allowed to Read Poem, State Officials Cite Miscommunication on Prior Denial

Credit Crystal Good / via Facebook

State officials blame miscommunication for denying a student's plan to recite a poem about the Upper Big Branch mine explosion at a state event.
 
Hurricane High School student Grace Pritt selected "Black Diamonds" by Crystal Good to recite at the Governor's Arts Awards on Thursday in Charleston.
 

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Mine Safety
11:33 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Nearly 200 Citations Issued During January Federal Mine Inspections

Federal impact inspections at U.S. mines in January resulted in 198 citations and 11 orders.
 
The Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 11 coal mines and three metal and nonmetal mines in Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Upper Big Branch
2:02 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Judge tosses another Alpha lawsuit by miner's families

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by relatives of three men killed in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster who claimed Alpha Natural Resources failed to pay them each $1.5 million as promised under a settlement with the federal government.

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