Coal baron Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, complained last year that it is “very difficult” to obey “nonsensical” safety rules. On April 5, 2010, 25 miners died in an explosion at his Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, WV, which had racked up thousands of safety violations. Massey is appealing “at least 37 of the 50 citations for serious safety violations” the mine received last year. When asked in a June 2009 interview if he was concerned that Massey was complying with safety regulations, Blankenship derided them as “nonsensical”:
They’re very difficult to comply with. There’s so many of the laws that are, if you will, nonsensical from an engineering or a coal mining viewpoint. A lot of the politicians, they get emotional, as does the public, about the most recent accident, and it’s easy to get laws on the books that are not truly helping the health or safety of coal miners. I think we need to be very pragmatic and very careful when we’re passing laws of that nature to make sure that we create as much safety and as much health as can be created for each of the resources we expend.
Blankenship concluded the interview by saying that his company has had “very good success on the safety and the environment.”