Thursday, December 4, 2014

Coal Boss Donald Blankenship Indicted For Conspiracy To Violate Federal Reg's

This may be the only time in your life that you see a major player in the fossil fuel industry indicted for anything more than parking in a handicapped space (and that of course never happens either). Here's Dylan Scott of TPM:
Surface coal mine, Wyoming

Blankenship, who, as the New York Times reported this week, grew up poor in West Virginia before rising to become one of the most powerful coal bosses in the United States, came to typify all the worst caricatures of ruthless industrialists. He broke unions. He dismissed federal regulations and dared inspectors to catch him in the act. He described his industry in evolutionary terms.

"It's like a jungle, where a jungle is survival of the fittest. Unions, communities, people -- everybody's gonna have to learn to accept that in the United States you have a capitalist society, and that capitalism, from a business standpoint, is survival of the most productive," he said in the 1980s.
Coal miner, 1930s

But with the death of 29 miners in the April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia, Blankenship's long run may finally have come to an end. He was indicted last month on conspiracy to willfully violate federal mining regulations before the accident and to defraud the United States by making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its aftermath.

If Blankenship were anyone else than his smug, self-satisfied self, someone might feel sorry for him, but as things are, hey, "it's like a jungle..."

I predict these outcomes:
  • Blankenship will be acquitted of all charges;
  • Not one single dangerous practice will be discontinued at his mines;
  • None of us will live to see him accused of any other violations or frauds;
  • Other energy corporation CEOs will feel free to ignore federal regulations;
  • No other energy CEO will be indicted in your or my lifetime.
Have a nice day!

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