FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, issued the following statement in response to Senator Joe Manchin’s comments.

OCTOBER 16, 2017

CONTACT: Mr. Don Blankenship

[email protected]

Don Blankenship Issues Response to Senator Joe Manchin’s Comments at Union Convention

Williamson, W.Va. – Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, issued the following statement in response to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s recent comments.

Senator Manchin’s public comments last week remained consistent with the untruths he has told the Upper Big Branch (UBB) families now for over seven years. Senator Manchin’s refusal to address the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) airflow reduction also shows his true character. Clearly he must believe that the UBB mine explosion was caused by MSHA. He also knows that MSHA’s explosion investigation report does not even mention that MSHA cut the airflow in half. Any mine explosion investigation report that excludes that MSHA mandated a 50% decrease in airflow cannot be considered a true investigation report. This remains a fact no matter how many of the then Governor’s cronies do investigation reports repeating the same false narrative. All miners know that airflow is critical to preventing mine explosions.

Senator Manchin has repeatedly used the UBB families to further his political career. He has also been in full support of MSHA’s false investigation and in doing so he has participated in slandering the deceased UBB coal miners. His support of MSHA’s lies while at the same time he admits he does “not know the facts” is also causing working miners to be at a greater risk everyday.

The Senator when speaking about Massey Energy Company likes to repeat the politician’s “Profits Over Safety” falsehood. But the miners in Southern West Virginia know that Massey led the coal industry in spending money to create safer working conditions and that Massey mines were better equipped and better maintained than most if not all in West Virginia. In fact 93% of Massey miners said so. Additionally, MSHA now requires that all mines in America use many of Massey’s inventions. The State of West Virginia has even put some of Massey’s safety creations into their law books.

The fact is that Senator Manchin has consistently assisted former President Obama’s cover-up of the UBB truth. He is now caught up in the MSHA lies about UBB. Manchin’s friend Hillary Clinton said in regard to the Benghazi truth “what difference at this point does it make.” As to UBB, the difference the truth can make is to save coal miners lives. The Senator is so vain that he does not understand that my goal in spreading the UBB truth is not about him. It is about my putting miner safety above my own pocketbook. Something I have always done and that he essentially acknowledged in his comments.

If Senator Manchin does not directly address MSHA’s role in decreasing the UBB mine’s airflow and take the time to learn that the mine experienced a natural gas explosion, not a coal dust explosion, he is unfit to represent coal miners or anyone else in West Virginia. He owes it to all West Virginians to admit the truth. Senator Manchin should stop covering up the government’s irrational airflow reduction and start down the path toward the full truth.

I remain willing to publicly debate the Senator anytime anywhere. The Senator should be willing to do so if his goal is as he claims to improve coal miner safety.