An Open Letter from Don Blankenship to Senator Joe Manchin

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
900 Pennsylvania Avenue
Suite 629
Charleston, WV 25302

Dear Senator Manchin:

This month marked the 4th year anniversary of the UBB explosion which took the lives of 29 West Virginia miners. Several of you promised the families of the victims and all other miners that you would prevent such an explosion from “ever happening again.”

A documentary was released on March 31st this year wherein experts explained that the gas which fueled the explosion was natural gas not coal gas (see for more information). The investigative reports produced by the government blame poor mining practices for allowing the explosion to occur. The Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation made no mention of a natural gas inundation even though it was massive in size and clearly fueled the explosion.

The frequent statement made by many legislators was that miners deserve all of our best efforts to make certain they can go home safely every day. My efforts to do that are evidenced by my funding of the documentary, by my presenting you with this letter and by my decades long development of creative safety improvements.

The five questions that now need to be answered in behalf of all current and future miners are:

1. Have you asked for the analyses of the gas samples that the government agency MSHA collected and analyzed so as to see for yourselves what type of gas fueled the explosion?

2. What have you done or attempted to do to prevent UBB from happening again?

3. Do you believe you have a responsibility to West Virginia miners to help them return home safely each day?

4. Are you aware that the Mine Safety and Health Administration is requiring the idling of dust scrubbers on continuous miners, despite coal miners, coal companies and even state mine inspectors private objections to their being idled?

5. Are you aware that there are several easily identifiable and effective changes that should be made to the mine laws that would help prevent UBB from happening again?
Thanks in advance for a public response to this letter on behalf of todays and future coal miners and their families.


Don Blankenship