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Massey Execs Called Killers
Chanting protesters surrounded the historic Jefferson Hotel on Tuesday morning, demanding the criminal prosecution of Massey Energy Co. board members and CEO Don Blankenship.
Six weeks after an explosion inside the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., killed 29 men and injured two -- making it the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in 40 years -- company shareholders met for their annual meeting in a ballroom inside the hotel.
Outside, protesters wore orange prison jumpsuits with Blankenship's name printed on the back. Others held signs accusing Massey of manslaughter.
"Fines are not enough," said Kevin Zeese, executive director for the Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics in Maryland. "We need to prosecute the leaders of this company. Blankenship is the main target. He's got to be stopped from killing again."
Zeese and others in the crowd of more than 1,000 protesters said Massey officials must be held accountable for an industry-leading 52 deaths during the past 10 years.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Charleston, W.Va., said Friday it is investigating Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co., the company operating Upper Big Branch, for "willful criminal activity." Read more.