Massey Acted ‘Above the Law’

Amy Sancetta / AP Photo

Massey Energy Co. acted “above the law” says the father of one of the 29 men killed in last year’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion. According to the Associated Press, it was unclear who was leading the rescue efforts in the hours after the blast, Massey or the federal government. Two Massey executives, Chris Blanchard and Jason Whitehead, charged into the mine and remained there even after Mine Safety and Health Administration officials raised concerns, saying they were causing confusion and creating footprints that could lead rescuers down the wrong path. Government rescue teams also assumed, in the first few hours, that Massey COO Chris Adkins was leading the search effort. "They were acting on their own," says the father of one killed miner, "and didn't care what MSHA and the state had to say."