How Coal Escapes Responsibility for its Deadly Track Record April 7, 2011 : 10:07 PM

The Charleston Gazette ran an excellent article Sunday on how big coal often escapes consequences for its deadly track record:

“On Jan. 14, 2009, officials from Aracoma Coal Co. pleaded guilty to 10 mine safety crimes. Prosecutors uncovered the violations during their investigation of a January 2006 fire at Aracoma's Alma No. 1 Mine in Logan County.”

“Delorice Bragg and Freda Hatfield were in court that day, too. Their husbands, Don and Elvis, died in the fire. The widows came to speak out against the government's promise not to bring any future charges against Aracoma's parent company, Massey Energy.”

“It wasn't the first time government officials went after Massey but settled for a deal with one of the Richmond, Va.-based coal giant's subsidiaries or a low-level company staffer.”

“Despite years of environmental problems and dozens of mining deaths, Massey and its corporate officials -- including now-retired CEO Don Blankenship -- have mostly escaped any serious, direct punishment.”