Monday, April 18, 2011

Massey executives who won't talk about disaster to maintain key roles in merger with Alpha

Alpha Natural Resources announced Friday that several Massey Energy executives will keep key roles in the combined company after Alpha acquires Massey. Federal documents and interviews with mine-safety advocates show that "Alpha has a safety record and reputation that is better than the record and reputation of Massey Energy," Howard Berkes of National Public Radio reports." Despite that record, "Massey Chief Operating Officer Chris Adkins will 'spearhead the implementation' of Alpha's main safety program."

Adkins was COO at Massey during 2009 when "four of the company's coal mines had injury rates more than double the national average and 10 had higher-than-average rates of injury," Berkes writes. During that period Massey's Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., where 29 miners were killed in an April 2010 explosion, had more closures than any other mine in the country. Adkins is among 18 current and former Massey executives who have refused to be interviewed by state and federal investigators in the Upper Big Branch investigation. "We spent a lot of time ensuring that these people would be a good match with our ethics," says Ted Pile, a spokesman for Alpha. "We have confidence in them that they have a desire to run right." (Read more)

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