Upper Big Branch: Never Again

Howard Berkes / NPR

Ten years ago, on April 5, 2010, 29 men who worked at an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, lost their lives. The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group, Inc. has placed wreaths at the monument in Raleigh County on April 5 every year since. But this year, they aren’t encouraging family members to visit, due to the spread of COVID-19.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Taking into consideration dermal and inhalation exposures, as well as ingestion, WV TAP researchers offer a screening level for MCHM eight times as stringent as the CDC's--still yet, they say levels of the chemical in the water below the federal agency's screening level is "safe." Mine safety professors have joined Sen. Joe Manchin in saying they were misrepresented by Don Blankenship's film Upper Big Branch - Never Again. A Marshall County high school senior wins a scholarship by creating a business plan to sell mushrooms.

Ellen Smith

Updated Tuesday April 1, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin wants the company to pull the entire documentary from the internet, discontinue distribution, and remove all references of the Senator. According to a release, Manchin today sent a letter to Adroit Films, the firm that filmed and produced the Don Blankenship-funded documentary, demanding the company to remove what Manchin is calling "propaganda" from all websites.

Senator Manchin wrote, in part: “Your fraudulent behavior in securing the interview and your misrepresentation of my interview are actionable offenses. I expect you to cease distribution of this film and remove any references to my name, image, and likeness.  Please respond to this letter in writing immediately to confirm what actions you are taking in response to my request.”

The release goes on to say Senator Manchin’s office has repeatedly attempted to contact Adroit Films via phone and email. Adroit did not immediately return our requests for comment.

Updated Monday March 31, 2014 at 5:24 p.m. 

It appears that Adroit Films has pulled the individual interviews recorded for Upper Big Branch: Never Again.

The interviews were available earlier today to watch on YouTube along with the full documentary earlier today.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship released a documentary today claiming it “looks at what really happened at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.”

The film, released on YouTube Monday, is titled Upper Big Branch: Never Again, debuted just days before the fourth anniversary of the mining disaster that took lives of 29 miners.

Produced by Adroit Films, the documentary disputes the findings of the Mine Safety and Health Administration following the 2010 accident.