CONTACT: Mr. Don Blankenship [email protected]

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy issued the following statement today addressing his reason for funding a series of television commercials labeled as “For the Sake of Coal Miners” to shed light on the truth of the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine explosion.

“Unfortunately, mine safety improvements depend heavily on learning from tragedies. We can only learn from tragedies when we understand and acknowledge the truth of what caused the tragedy. The UBB mine explosion is no exception. Unfortunately, because the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) likely caused the UBB mine explosion, the truth has been hidden for over seven years,” said Don Blankenship.

Blankenship continued “Senator Joe Manchin says he is unwilling to criticize MSHA; that he had not heard that the UBB explosion was a natural gas explosion; and that he does not have the facts. So long as all this is true other miners are at a greater risk of losing their lives to another natural gas catastrophe”.

View the most recent commercial in the “For the Sake of Coal Miners” series featuring U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, which began airing on Sunday by clicking here.

“The UBB truths will make apparent many things that can be done to reduce the chances of another tragedy similar to UBB. We already know that two actions would undoubtedly decrease the likelihood of another tragedy. First, MSHA must be divided into two entities – one to regulate and one to investigate. MSHA cannot be allowed to continue investigating accidents which it may have caused. Second, MSHA has to come into the modern world technologically. Better gas monitoring, computer simulations, forensic/scientific accident investigations, and improved mapping are four obvious opportunities where technological improvements would help keep miners safer,” continued Blankenship.

Blankenship concluded, “The commercials in the “For the Sake of Coal Miners” series are being released now and in the coming months to provide the catalyst for a scientific versus political investigation into what happened at UBB. When the truth is exposed, many safety improvements will be identified. Untruths and politics have no role in improving mine safety. “For the Sake of the Coal Miners” it is past time for the UBB truth to be told and for Senator Joe Manchin to learn the facts.”