Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mining, Massey Energy And A Message Of Truth

"Massey Energy is controlled by Don Blankenship who by all accounts is an arrogant, egotistical megalomaniac who feels that anyone who pushes for safety in the mines is taking away part of the profit he so desires."

I am posting, in its entirety, an email that I received today from a man who knows the truth about West Virginia mining and Massey Energy. In my email to him, I asked him what he thought about the present situation:
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"Good to "meet" you Ruthie.

The simplest answer about how this kind of accident happens is that coal mines produce methane gas which is colorless and odorless. So you don't know it is there without an instrument to measure for it. Coal miners do this constantly, but the roofs of coal mines are not smooth, they have hollows in them that allow methane to accumulate in them. So there could be pockets of methane anywhere. This is usually no problem, but sometimes while mining one can dig through into a hollow area where there is methane and allow it to escape into the working area.

Methane is highly explosive and can be ignited by a spark so small that a person would not even see it. Even static electricity can cause a spark big enough to ignite methane. Coal dust is also highly explosive and can be ignited by a spark. Miners work to keep coal dust under control by spreading a fire retardant everywhere. Inside a coal mine is not coal black, but white from fire retardant.

Miners also have huge fans to blow air constantly through the mines in order to lower the amount of coal dust and methane in the shafts. This is more difficult than it seems.

Picture a checker board...the red blocks are areas where coal has been removed and the black blocks are coal still waiting to be mined...makes it very hard to keep air flowing in the right direction. This is why accidents like this happen.

If a mine gets sloppy on safety and keeping these things under control, it increases the chance of accidents. Poor ventilation will allow methane or coal dust to build up in an area and when a spark comes along, it all explodes.

Massey Energy is controlled by Don Blankenship who by all accounts is an arrogant, egotistical megalomaniac who feels that anyone who pushes for safety in the mines is taking away part of the profit he so desires. As anyone born and raised in the southern WV coalfields can tell you, corruption and paid for politicians is a way of life. It is so much a fact of life there that people constantly joke about it to relieve the frustration of living under those conditions. I firmly believe that WV has not a single honest politician in the entire state. County sheriffs and local politicians are the same. Bought and paid for every step of the way. This is fact not suspicion.

So it is not just negligence on the part of Massey Energy, it is arrogance. They know that nothing they do will ever bring true punishment because they own the politicians and the judges of every county.

As sad and frustrating as this all is, it is still a beautiful state (where they have not used MTR) and it is populated by some pretty darn good people."
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Thank you, Sir for your comments and information. I totally agree with you. When I watched an interview with Don Blankenship, I said to myself, "Don, you are an arrogant bastard and you make my skin crawl."

It's time to push him and everyone else without a decent shred of conscience in the West Virginia mining industry...out of the way. And then get in there and make sure that every single safety regulation is enforced. Permanently.

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