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Coal Mine Ex-CEO Blankenship Sentenced To 1 Year In Prison (Update W/VIDEO)

It's not nearly enough, but more than I thought he'd get.

The video above is former CEO of Massey Energy speaking the language of Big Coal Lies to his audience, back in his salad days when he was riding high as an official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Those days are behind him now, and he's heading off to jail for a year. Blankenship also has to pay a fine which is less than one-quarter of the millions he donated to the Tea Party in 2009.

NBC reports that Blankenship was sentenced today for his part in the conspiracy that resulted in the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010. 29 men died in that disaster, and it was entirely preventable.

A judge sentenced former coal executive Don Blankenship to a year in prison Wednesday for his role in the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades, saying he was part of a "dangerous conspiracy."

One day after the sixth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010, which killed 29 men, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger gave the ex-Massey Energy CEO the maximum prison time and fined him the maximum $250,000. A federal jury convicted Blankenship on Dec. 3 of a misdemeanor conspiracy to violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch.

After Blankenship failed in his bid to buy a judge to get him off, he faced trial and was found guilty of conspiracy to evade safety provisions. Unfortunately, his guilt doesn't mean he'll feel much in the way of his pocketbook, since the judge already ruled against him paying restitution to the victims or the company that took over Massey Energy's operations.

The judge already ruled that Blankenship won't have to pay $28 million in restitution to Alpha Natural Resources, helping him avoid a serious blow to his personal fortune. Alpha bought Massey in 2011 after the explosion, and wanted Blankenship to pay legal fees it covered for former Massey employees, costs to cooperate with the investigation and mine safety fines incurred at Upper Big Branch.

Berger also ruled that Blankenship would not have to pay restitution to about 100 people, including former miners and family members.

Still, it's something. At least he will spend some time in jail with ordinary people, where perhaps he can start to understand what he did. I won't hold my breath hoping for that, though.


This relative's strong and raw reaction to the verdict will break your heart.

EMOTIONAL REACTION: Tommy Davis lost three loved ones in the UBB mine disaster and was very emotional outside the federal courthouse in Charleston after Don Blankenship was sentenced to one year in prison Wednesday.See more here -->

Posted by WCHS & WVAH TV on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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