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Two West Virginia coal miners were killed Monday night:
The state Mine Safety Office identified the victims Tuesday morning as Eric Legg, 48, of Twilight, and Gary Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville. They were working the evening shift when the accident occurred at around 8:47 p.m.

State mine safety officials said the accident may have been caused by a “coal outburst,” which is a sudden rush of coal and gas.

The deaths occurred at Patriot Coal's Brody Mine No. 1. There are two things to know about that. One is that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had found a pattern of violations at Brody Mine No. 1 last October, a determination "made on the basis of repeated violations of mandatory health or safety standards at the mine that could significantly and substantially (S&S) contribute to the cause and effect of safety or health hazards." Patriot Coal is disputing that designation, which was based on 18 citations for "conditions and/or practices that contribute to ventilation and/or methane hazards," 20 citations for "conditions and/or practices that contribute to emergency preparedness and escapeway hazards," and many more.

Second, Patriot Coal itself basically came into existence to screw workers. Peabody Energy spun Patriot off into a separate company, giving it less than 20 percent of Peabody's assets and 40 percent of its retiree health and pension obligations. Patriot acquired another spin-off company with a lot of liabilities, then declared bankruptcy and went to court to be allowed to dump its retiree health benefits, slashing benefits and pensions for 13,000 workers and retirees. What's more, 90 percent of the retirees never worked for Patriot at all; they were just shifted to its books so they could be robbed.

How surprised can we really be to see a pattern of safety violations that may have contributed to the death of two miners coming from a company founded on disregard for workers' health? At a minimum, our surprise has to be less than our rage.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 13, 2014 at 08:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by WE NEVER FORGET, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Corp are people because they are good at murder (6+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue May 13, 2014 at 10:03:49 AM PDT

    •  Don't you just love that name "Patriot" Coal? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Because it's so patriotic to put the lives of hard-working miners at risk. Feh.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Tue May 13, 2014 at 06:33:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do the workers have a union? If so, where they (0+ / 0-)

      hell are they?

      It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

      by auapplemac on Tue May 13, 2014 at 07:20:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A very good question . . it is difficult to answer (0+ / 0-)

        because the current republican thrust is to gut Unions.  This isn't a new war and it is being fought because organized workers pose a threat to the uber rich mine owners and politicians who suck on the teat of those wealthy corporations.

        Then things like this happen in another Nation.

        " " " SOMA, Turkey — Amid wails of grief and anger, rescue workers coated in grime trudged repeatedly out of a coal mine Wednesday with stretchers of bodies that swelled the death toll to 274 — the worst such disaster in Turkish history." " "

        " " "In Istanbul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S. Police used tear gas and water cannon to break up a group who tried to march to the city’s iconic Taksim Square to denounce poor safety conditions.

        Police also dispersed a group marching to the energy ministry in Ankara to protest the deaths.

        Fences were erected and police stood guard outside Soma’s hospital, where scores of the injured were being treated. Some residents said the men were being pressured by the mining company not to talk about the blast." " "

        When people tolerate police brutality posed as protection for politicians, it becomes a problem.

        Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

        by olegar on Thu May 15, 2014 at 07:42:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Laura WV just had another incident (7+ / 0-)

    Eastern WV , which is populated by DC folks on weekends has a US Silica plant outside of Berkley Springs WV on 522N towards
    the Potomac River bridge crossing into Maryland and accessing
    I 70 and I 68. There was an acid leak that caused a 30 foot high cloud that they said was blowing north. I am about 8-10 miles SE and I could smell it. It is very hot and humid here but shut off all ventilation. Info is still sketchy but it was probably sulfuric acid and or sodium hydroxide. The weird thing is today is Election Day and one of our locals is running for congress on the platform of fighting the EPA. We don't have as much heavy industry here as the rest of the state, but still things are not as regulated as they should be.

  •  We should shut them down. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Coal mining 1 of most miserable & dangerous jobs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem

    in the country. Mythology has it salt mines are worse but I don't know.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:19:38 PM PDT

  •  Not to be an asshole, but (0+ / 0-)

    please tell me, "What is news here?"

    By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.

    by HarryParatestis on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:20:46 PM PDT

  •  Humankind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizabeth 44, Ishmaelbychoice

    :: goes to moon ::

    :: maps human genome ::

    :: invents internet ::

    :: puts telescopes in space that look 13 billion light years into the distant past ::

    :: needs energy, so digs black shit out of the ground and lights it on fire just like in the 1800s ::

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:21:50 PM PDT

  •  Cue The Disgruntled Ex-Employee (2+ / 0-)

    The one that HR sacked for "not being a team player" who hurt morale by saying things like "that right there is going to get men killed."

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:23:57 PM PDT

  •  Meanwhile, I saw this piece (5+ / 0-)

    about why Obama is unpopular in Kentucky.  One man who lives on disability checks and food stamps hates Obama because of the President's supposed hostility to coal:

    Here's what he said about the coal business: 'go ahead, build your coal fired energy plants, we will shut them down,'" Feltner alleged.

    "Is that something for a president to say?," he added. "He's got a problem with the poor people."

    And then there's this man:
    Eric Miller, 28, with bad teeth and an accent as thick as his tattooed arms, says he does not care about politics. He voted once, but can't remember for whom. But one thing is clear: he does not like Obama.

    "I guess Democrats just worry about money in their pocket, what they and their friends are doing. They're not worried about us small people," Miller said.

    "The Republicans, they are the ones that know… raised up like we have, you know. Know what it's like, what we need, what shouldn't been taken away," Miller added.

    "If there weren't government programs, it would be a ghost town," Miller said. He gets $380 on the sixth of every month, and with that he has to support himself and his girlfriend.

    Despite the fact that it's Obama who favors those government programs and favors food stamps, and it's Republicans who are trying to eliminate those things, the folks in that article hate Obama and the Democrats and favor the Republicans.

    And just watch, this latest incident in West Virginia won't change the equation in that region anymore than that water contamination earlier this year.  There won't be any rethinking of support for Republicans and their less government, less regulation policy.  They're more liable to blame this on Obama and big government and libruls.  Too many people in that region have their priorities all fucked up.  

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:31:47 PM PDT

  •  How many were killed by wind turbines on Monday? (2+ / 0-)
  •  Two Workers Executed In West Virginia (3+ / 0-)

    Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and democrat US Senator Joe Manchin will promise that this will not happen again -- AGAIN.

    Both of these smarmy politicians want to further deregulate the Environmental Protection Agency and could give a damn about West Virginia's citizens.

    Now is the time to start holding them responsible.

    •  Problem is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's up to West Virginia's citizens to hold them accountable.

      They haven't done so when these sort of things happened before.  They haven't shown any signs of doing so in the wake of that water contamination earlier this year.  I'll be shocked if they hold accountable the coal industry, the politicians who do their bidding, or the anti-regulation mindset that allow these incidents to happen.

      Frankly they're more likely to blame Obama and say that this would've been avoided if only government stopped telling those coal mine operators how to run their business.

      "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

      by puakev on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:23:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The last few years of lax enforcement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chokingsmoker, Hillbilly Dem

    has its roots in former governor Joe Manchin's "retail government."
    Joe Manchin's Retail Government

    "Idiocracy. It's not a comedy, it's a prophecy."

    by wv voice of reason on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:46:27 PM PDT

    •  After decades of "West Virginia Wild And Wonderful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wv voice of reason

      on our road signage on routes entering the state, Manchin changed it to "West Virginia: Open For Business". Talk about telegraphing your punches.

      The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

      by Hillbilly Dem on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:55:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quitter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hillbilly Dem

        and now after quitting his 2nd term as governor to run for the Senate he is considering a return to WV to again run for governor. Apparently he didn't realize that Occupying Byrd's seat in the Senate did not accord him the same respect or credibility of Robert C. Byrd.

        "Idiocracy. It's not a comedy, it's a prophecy."

        by wv voice of reason on Tue May 13, 2014 at 06:06:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need a Progressive revolution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem

    going beyond the living wage and many other issues being discussed under the rubric of Income Inequality to the living retirement benefit not held by companies in their own stock and subject to bankruptcy. Even if it means raising taxes, we need Social Security to be expanded enough to keep recipients out of poverty all by itself.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:54:45 PM PDT

    •  A progressive revolution is needed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but if we want it to happen anytime soon, we need the constituency that has backed virtually every successful egalitarian movement in American history, the group that is still the biggest, most influential voting bloc by far - the white working and middle class.

      Problem is, much of this group is deep in the stranglehold of reactionary thought.  This is a group that mostly believes the problem is too much government.  They used to be the people of Huey Long and William Jennings Bryan, the kind of folks who used to rail against big business and Wall Street.  Now they vote overwhelmingly for a plutocrat like Mitt Romney.

      And I don't see this changing anytime soon.

      "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

      by puakev on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:53:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately the Angry White Guy (0+ / 0-)

        faction is dying off in the normal manner and failing to replace itself, at the rate of several million per year. We already have a significant fraction of the white working and middle classes, and gaining more, while we have huge majorities among other ethnic groups.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Tue May 13, 2014 at 10:36:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry my child, but you're too late in askin' (0+ / 0-)

    Mister Peabody's coal train done hauled it away...
    Every thing those evil bastards touch, they corrupt. Their ruinous Black Mesa Mine and the related power plant at Page, AZ have desecrated one of the Navajo Nation's sacred mountains and spewed their filth downwind.

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:29:39 PM PDT

  •  Cheap energy (0+ / 0-)

    Tell me again how cheap coal is as an energy source.  We need to start looking at all the costs.

  •  I dont understand (0+ / 0-)

    despite the obvious lack of desire to protect workers WV is solid red.  Why?  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue May 13, 2014 at 06:17:38 PM PDT

  •  A Democrat in West Virginia (0+ / 0-)

    is two goose-steps to the right of Karl Rove.

    Imagine what a West Virginia Republican is like.

  •  JHC, how does this happen? Why don't these (0+ / 0-)

    miners understand where ther interests lie?
    I just don't get it?

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Tue May 13, 2014 at 09:27:18 PM PDT

    •  It starts with an "I" and it aint icecream (0+ / 0-)

      Ignorance is rampant in many parts of Appalachia and the deep South, and as the post above so aptly shows, many of the rural folks listen to only fox noise and religiously believe their continual cacophony of lies and misrepresentation of facts.  I'm not in favor of any kind of voter controls but it would b

      e good if a voter was required to read at the 4th grade level.

      Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

      by olegar on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:10:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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