|By Bob Weaver|
West Virginian politicians should be grateful for the work of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship, whose company, Massey Coal, amassed $2.4 billion in safety and environmental violations.
Blankenship ostensibly originated the talking-point about the "War on Coal," which then was coined as "Obama's War on Coal."
Both Republicans and Democrats, winners and losers, ran primarily on the catch-phrase during this last election cycle.
Now, Blankenship has been indicted for his crimes against his miners, related to the 29 "highly preventable" deaths of 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch disaster. Some of the mines foremen have served jail time for their part on cover-ups.
Few remember Blankenship's almost $3 million dollar donation to elect a WV Supreme Court justice Brent Benjamin who had never had a court trial, or the shenanigans with another Supreme Court justice Spike Maynard, caught on camera.
Those justices, in most of the Massey cases, refused to recuse themselves, and were the subject of national media attention and books.
But in West Virginia, coal matters more than human life, with virtually all the major disasters blamed on happenstance or called "acts of god."
Blankenship's recent indictment is clear about his roll in ignoring safety to make a profit.
West Virginia media is upset about the court's gag order on the case, and have filed a brief regarding the muzzling.
READ LIFE AND TIMES OF DON BLANKENSHIP - West Virginia Coal Country Sees New Era as Donald Blankenship Is Indicted - The New York Times
And THE POWER OF MONEY AND 'THE BEST POLITICIANS IT CAN BUY' - Buffalo Creek 40 Years Later