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Protesting Massey « The Washington Independent

Today marks Massey Energy’s annual shareholders meeting in Richmond, Va, and they’re getting quite a reception from environmentalists and members of the United Mine Workers of America, who are picketing the event by the hundreds. The Wall Street Journal provides some context:

The UMWA has been one of Massey’s fiercest critics since the explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine last month, the worst coal mining disaster in 40 years. The union, which has lost organizing elections at the company’s mines in recent years, has long had an antagonistic relationship with Massey. The union represents some Massey employees who work at coal preparation plants.

A number of Massey miners — both former and current — have come forward since last month’s tragedy with allegations that the company simply doesn’t prioritize safety in its mines, particularly if those measures hinder the production of coal.

Massey has rejected those claims, insisting that its safety record is at least as good as those of its competitors. Indeed, the Journal reports that the company — despite a damning record of safety at the UBB mine – is still lashing out at its critics.

Prior to the protests, a Massey spokeswoman said, “We respect the right of those with a narrow political agenda to express their views.”

Massey CEO Don Blankenship, whose own political agenda inspired a recent $30,400 donation to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, will testify before the Senate Thursday.

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