For Immediate Release

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Blankenship’s Maximum Sentence Was the Right Thing to Do

WASHINGTON - Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: Today, a federal District Court judge sentenced former Massey Energy executive Don Blankenship to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. Blankenship was the chief executive officer when an explosion killed 29 workers six years ago.

With heavy hearts, coal miners and their families today can celebrate a modicum of justice, as Don Blankenship receives the maximum jail time for his conspiracy conviction. For decades, coal company executives have ruthlessly endangered the lives of coal miners, disregarding the law and sure they could escape, at worst, with slap-on-the-wrist penalties. Hopefully today’s sentence signals a new day, when executives can and will be held accountable and put in jail for their crimes.


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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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