'Blankenship on Trial' Episode One
On Monday April 5, 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, killed 29 miners. At the time, the mine was owned by Massey Energy, which federal regulators and a state funded independent investigation found responsible for the blast. Massey’s CEO was Don Blankenship.
In December of last year, federal prosecutors brought charges against Blankenship stemming from the accident. The Mingo County native is charged with conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws and lying to securities regulators. The highly publicized case - one of the highest profile in West Virginia in decades - is scheduled to begin October 1.
In this week’s episode of “Blankenship on Trial,” Ashton Marra discusses the charges and the impending trial with Howard Berkes, an investigative reporter with NPR who covers coal mine and workplace safety, and Mike Hissam, a partner with the Charleston law firm Bailey & Glasser and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.