There still may be an outside chance that justice may be rendered on behalf of the victims of the explosion at Upper Big Branch. WVANEWS reported Monday, April 2, 2012, that the investigation of Manchin is still open regarding Manchin’s use of Massey’s corporate jet due to the explosion at Massey’s UBB mine at Montcoal, WV.
Manchin’s plane trip in and of itself is small potatoes. Hopefully to those investigating him it will indicate the former WV governor’s “cozy” relationship with the owner of a mine where 29 men lost their lives just because governor Manchin personally had ordered his own state regulators to not shut down that operation over obvious and repeated safety violations. But you don’t have to take my word for it because you can hear Manchin indict himself on the following short youtube presentation below:
Upon hearing Manchin’s incredible statement on that video, I personally checked out the pre-edited version at this link, and sure enough, prior to the explosion, and after 12 miners died at Sago, WV, Manchin personally admitted to instructing “his people” to go easy on fines and to not shut coal operations down when they saw repeated violations!
Of course Manchin could never have predicted the dire result of his cozy “Retail Government” policy while he was pandering to his fellow “Friends of Coal”, even though the 12 who died at Sago during another blast prior to his pandering did so also while he was running WV. Should we all forgive him for a temporary lapse of judgement and endorse him for his next run for office, as did the WV Chamber of Commerce, the Charleston Gazette, the WV Chamber of Commerce and the United Mine Workers of America?
In his report, former MSHA-head J. Davitt McAteer, the head of Manchin’s own Independent Investigation into the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster officially (and quite bravely) branded the inability of the state of West Virginia (while under governor Manchin) to protect the lives of miners as “a political failure – a failure by the state’s government to nurture and support strict safety standards for coal miners. But McAteer didn’t stop there, he went on to say, “If miners’ lives are to be safeguarded, the cozy relationship between high-ranking government officials and the coal industry must change, as must the relationship between the enforcement agency and the industry it regulates”.
That 120-page report may be found at this link To easily check my quote within the context it was originally used, you can download that report and in the pdf search engine apply the searchword: cozy
. That will take you straight to McAteer’s scathing indictment of Manchin’s role in the deaths of those men, especially in light of my own full report which may still be found at this link.
Not included in my earlier report was why Davitt McAteer raised hell about Tomblin’s lame attempt to cover up Manchin’s role when their cadre of cowards at the statehouse passed a so-called “mine safety bill”. If you’d like to review Ken Ward’s coverage of McAteer’s courageous public pronouncements, take a gander at this link
Ken Hechler, a true WV statesman, literally wrote the book on mine safety. Besides drafting the original bill, in his book “The Fight for Coal Mine Health and Safety: A Documented History,” Hechler addressed the political struggle that was waged to pass his landmark 1969 legislation. Hechler has since been quoted stating unequivocally that “If the 1969 law had been enforced, those miners would have been saved.” All of the government and independent reports subsequent to the explosion at Upper Big Branch have agreed with my friend Ken on that point.
There can be little doubt that Joe Manchin implemented his lethal Retail Government policy to benefit his rich and powerful coal industry pals. Reflecting only on the results of that policy, UMW president Cecil Roberts and the UMW tagged it as “Industrial Homicide“. Considering the fact that more miners died while on Manchin’s watch than any others since 1969 (after Hechler’s mine safety bill was implemented), Senator “Retail Government” now appears to have blood on his hands.