Monday, April 5, 2010

West Virgina Mine Accident

Breaking news from the West Virginia Gazette reports that a mine explosion in a Massey Coal mine of Raleigh County, West Virginia has resulted in injury and death for Massey coal employees at Performance Coal's Upper Big Branch Mine (pic)-South near Namoa.  Massey Coal has been the focus of several posts at Bad Lawyer since the inception of this blawg for among other things buying the West Virginia Supreme Court, and the company's shining environmental record of doing such things as removing mountain tops to strip coal.   A.T.Massey figures centrally behind the scenes of those sunny slickly produced commercials touting "clean" coal technology=we environmentally ruin your environment.

We don't calculate the cost in human health and life in the energy debate about "clean" coal.  In my career I encountered survivors of life in the mines, these were hard lives.  The only evidence of my Father's father is a picture of him in coveralls with a crew of Kentucky coal miners.  I ascribe the fact that I have no actual memory of father's father to a life foreshortened by emphysema and other pulmonary illness attributable to life in the mines. 

My professional and financial life is in tatters, but my professional work did not physically kill me.  For many others there are still Dickensian-corners of our economy that we don't actually think about until something like this occurs.  Astonishingly, so many of these operators are engaged in practices that deliberately disregard the safety of the people who in their employ descend below the earth to mine coal to fire power plants and make the high tech gadgets that we kid ourselves into believing are so green.   There is a human and environmental cost to that fancy new IPad and the other electronics we crave. 

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