Security chief at coal mine where 29 died gets 3 years in prison

The former security chief at a coal mine where 29 miners died in 2010 was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison for lying to federal agents and obstructing an investigation into the worst accident in the U.S. mining industry in four decades.

Hughie Elbert Stover of Clear Fork, West Virginia, had faced a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley, West Virginia.

He was convicted last October of giving false statements to FBI and Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators and with obstructing the federal investigation into the cause of the Upper Big Branch disaster.

An explosion at the mine, owned by the now-defunct Massey Energy, killed 29 miners in April 2010…

Prosecutors said Stover had lied when he told FBI and mine safety investigators that security guards had not routinely warned mine personnel when inspectors were on their way to the mine. But investigators discovered that Stover himself warned mine personnel when mine safety inspectors were on their way. Stover also instructed another person to destroy thousands of Massey Energy documents related to the UBB mine, prosecutors said…

Last week, a former superintendent of the mine was charged with felony conspiracy, accused of tipping off employees to safety inspections and concealing dangerous violations…

Three reports, including a preliminary report by the mine safety administration and a report released by the United Mine Workers of America, blame Massey for the disaster by allowing unsafe conditions in the mine.

Throw away the key.

And while you’re at it, lock up the politicians in the state legislature and Congress who cave in to the mine owners every time the question of safety arises. The only body that ever fights for miners is the UMWA. They deserve all the thanks for dedication to mine safety.

2 thoughts on “Security chief at coal mine where 29 died gets 3 years in prison

  1. Molly Maguire says:

    “In rare criminal case, coal baron faces trial for worker deaths : Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, allegedly operated an unsafe West Virginia coal mine where 29 men died” “Prosecutors charge that Blankenship lied to financial regulators and conspired to violate safety regulations before Apr. 5, 2010, when a massive blast in the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 men ranging in age from 20 to 61. It was the worst such disaster in nearly half a century.
    The trial before District Judge Irene C. Berger in Charleston is unusual in many ways: Worker deaths rarely lead to criminal prosecutions; the coal industry commands reverence in West Virginia; and Blankenship — who now faces up to 30 years in prison — seemed to many to be an untouchable baron.”

  2. Hunky says:

    CHARLESTON, W. Va. Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine, the site of a 2010 blast that killed 29 people. One of Blankenship’s lawyers, Bill Taylor, told reporters the defense team was disappointed by the misdemeanor conviction but doubted Blankenship would serve any time in prison. Sentencing was set for March 23. Blankenship, 65, faces a maximum $250,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Massey Energy was bought in 2011 by Alpha Natural Resources Inc for about $7 billion.

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