April 8, 2010 |
Bobby Gray was beat. He'd just worked the nine-hour overnight shift at a coal mine on Seng Creek on Wednesday, and he was due back at 4 p.m. But at least he was alive and safe. "Thank God," said his wife, Michelle. "I worry every time he goes down in that mine that he won't come home at the end of his shift." Three days after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine killed 25 miners, dozens of other mines along the Big Coal River are still running, still sending men deep into the earth to scratch out a living.
April 7, 2010
Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co. is the largest coal producer in central Appalachia, operating 47 underground and surface mines in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. It was founded in 1920 as a coal brokering business and began mining operations in 1945. In 2009, Massey reported coal revenue of $2.3 billion and recorded net income of $104.4 million. Massey reported employment of 5,851 at the end of 2009. The company has repeatedly fended off organizing drives by the United Mine Workers of America and the union currently represents 76 Massey employees, union spokesman Phil Smith said.
April 6, 2010 |
Brenda Willis rushed out of the One Stop food shop Tuesday wearing a "Route 3 Spousal Group" T-shirt and carrying an armful of sandwiches and cold drinks. "For the families of the lost ones," Willis said as she loaded the food into an SUV for delivery to families gathered at the Upper Big Branch mine office to learn the fates of the missing miners caught in Monday's explosion. Like virtually everyone in the string of unincorporated villages that dot Route 3 along the muddy Big Coal River, Willis knew several victims of the worst U.S. coal mine disaster since 1984.
January 18, 2008 |
The country's fourth-largest coal producer, Massey Energy Co., has agreed to pay a landmark $20-million fine to settle federal charges that it repeatedly dumped dangerous amounts of mine waste and sediment into creeks and rivers in three Appalachian states over a seven-year period.
June 2, 2002
As a former West Virginian, I was thrilled to read Peter Slavin's excellent article about Massey Energy Co.'s continuing devastation of West Virginia's mountains and its harassment of the citizens of the Big Coal River Valley ("Razing Appalachia," May 5). I am especially proud of Judy Bonds and other Coal River Mountain Watch folks who are fighting Massey's destruction of people's health and homes. The plight of West Virginia is no different from that of a Third World country that is exploited and polluted by outside interests.
May 5, 2002 |
Judy Bonds, her daughter and grandson were the last ones out. They packed up and left Marfork hollow early last year, the rear guard of more than 50 families in a community that had existed for nearly a century--until the A.T. Massey Coal Co. arrived on this stretch of the Big Coal River in southern West Virginia.