[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts today issued the following statement:
“The statement in court today by Mr. David C. Hughart that the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship, was involved in a long-term scheme to violate mine safety laws and cover it up is surprising only in that a high-level Massey employee finally told the truth. Those of us who have observed Blankenship’s lawless ways over the past many years have long predicted this day would come if the facts ever came out.
“Finally there is a witness to Blankenship’s misdeeds who will step forward and tell what he knows. Hopefully more will follow suit. If the investigation into the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine is to be complete, Don Blankenship’s indictment – and then conviction – is the only possible outcome.
“But for the families of the 53 people who died on Massey property during Blankenship’s reign, including the 29 at Upper Big Branch, today’s news comes too late. For far too long, he ran roughshod over mine safety and health laws, over labor laws, and over the people of central Appalachia. Those few of us who would stand up to him were often hounded with lawsuits and subjected to threats and attempted intimidation.
“Thankfully, those days are over. But the damage Don Blankenship and Massey Energy did to workers, their families and their communities will take years to overcome. I commend U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin for taking this investigation where no one else has, and look forward to the day when Don Blankenship is behind bars where he belongs.”