upper big branch

The former superintendent of Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine has pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy.

Gary May was the superintendent at Upper Big Branch in April 2010, when the West Virginia mine exploded, killing 29 workers. He was charged with felony conspiracy last month, and now he has pleaded guilty.

In his plea, May admitted to working with others to impede federal mine inspectors, as well as giving advance warning of inspections. He told miners to rewire a methane detector, so the equipment it was attached to could run illegally. May says he also helped hide health and safety violations, some of which may have contributed to the explosion.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says mine operators have an obligation to be honest with state and federal regulators. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Former Upper Big Branch Superintendent Charged With Felony Conspiracy

by Erica Peterson February 22, 2012

Federal charges have been filed against the former superintendent of Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine. Gary May was charged with felony conspiracy today in West Virginia. Gary May started working at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2008. He was a superintendent there in April 2010, when an explosion tore through the mine, killing […]

Read the full article →

Overtime Investigation, Daeschner’s Contract Not Renewed, FDA Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men, Congress Debates Payroll Tax: Today on State of the News

by Laura Ellis December 9, 2011

Mayor Greg Fischer called for an investigation into the city’s use of overtime pay, and MSHA finished its investigation of Upper Big Branch and found assey to blame. We’ll recap and analyse this week’s metro news with the WFPL news staff. News and Tribune editor Shea Van Hoy joins WFPL’s Devin Katayama to talk about […]

Read the full article →

MSHA Finishes Upper Big Branch Investigation, Blames Massey Safety Lapses

by Erica Peterson December 6, 2011

The federal government has finished its investigation into last year’s fatal explosion at a West Virginia coal mine. The Mine Safety and Health Administration has imposed record penalties and is standing behind previous statements that the accident was preventable. As soon as one day after the explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine, MSHA’s […]

Read the full article →

MSHA Places Kentucky Coal Mine on ‘Potential Pattern of Violations’ Status

by Erica Peterson October 14, 2011

A Kentucky coal mine has been flagged as unsafe by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The Letcher County mine is the fourth recently placed on a ‘potential pattern of violations’ status. The mine is Dennis Creg Yonts’ Number Two Mine in Dean, operated by Vision Coal. Kevin Stricklin of MSHA says the notice amounts […]

Read the full article →

Government Faults Coal Company in Upper Big Branch Explosion

by Erica Peterson June 29, 2011

Federal regulators held a briefing today in West Virginia to discuss their investigation into the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the explosion on April 5, 2010 that killed 29 miners in southern West Virginia was preventable. In a presentation, MSHA administrator Kevin Stricklin outlined Massey’s failures at the […]

Read the full article →

Officials Say Massey Kept Two Sets of Safety Record for Upper Big Branch

by Erica Peterson June 29, 2011

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is about to brief reporters in West Virginia on its investigation into the Upper Big Branch explosion. But last night they met with the families of the 29 men who died in the mine in April, 2010, and reports of their findings are already leaking out. NPR’s Howard […]

Read the full article →

New Rock Dust Rule Aims to Reduce Likelihood of Coal Mine Explosions

by Erica Peterson June 20, 2011

A new coal mining rule goes into effect tomorrow that regulators hope will help prevent explosions like the one at the Upper Big Branch Mine last year. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration will require coal mine dust to be at least 80 percent rock dust, which is non-combustible. The other 20 percent can […]

Read the full article →

Alpha Dismisses Massey Energy’s Report on W.Va. Mine Explosion

by Erica Peterson June 3, 2011

Earlier today, Massey Energy’s former Chairman of the Board Bobby Inman released his company’s accounting of the causes behind the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.  The Charleston Gazette has a link to the report. Basically, it discounts the report released last month by an independent team commissioned by former West Virginia […]

Read the full article →

Wednesday Vote Scheduled on Massey-Alpha Coal Merger

by Erica Peterson May 31, 2011

Shareholders of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources will vote Wednesday on a proposed merger.  If approved, the deal would make Alpha the world’s third largest producer of metallurgical coal. The company has said it intends to retain five Massey executives, all of whom were in leadership positions during the Upper Big Branch explosion last year […]

Read the full article →