Justice, Politics

How Pharaoh Operates

In the wake of the Massey Energy coal mine explosion, some of the inner workings of Pharaoh, Inc. have become more transparent.
This is from an L.A. Times article:

“They placed profits over safety repeatedly,” said Tonya L. Hatfield, a lawyer in the coal-mining town of Gilbert, W.Va., who has sued Massey in cases over a 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine, where 12 miners were trapped and two died. In that case the company agreed to pay $2.5 million in criminal fines. The fine, when combined with $1.5 million in civil penalties, was apparently the largest ever imposed in a coal-mining death case.…
An Oct. 19, 2005, company memo obtained in Aracoma litigation indicates that before the Aracoma fire, all of the company’s deep mine superintendents — including at Upper Big Branch — were put on notice by Massey Chief Executive Don Blankenship that coal production trumped any other concerns.

This is from Massey’s letter to its shareholders dated April 8, 2010:

The safety of our members has been and will continue to be our top priority every day. Media reports suggesting that the UBB tragedy was the result of a willful disregard for safety regulations are completely unfounded. Our lost-time incident rate has been better than the industry average for 17 of the past 19 years, improving significantly in recent years. These improvements have been achieved through concerted effort and significant investment.
At Massey, safety is everyone’s concern.

And most importantly

We are currently working on plans to mitigate the lost production at UBB by increasing production at other mines.

What more can you say?

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