Don Blankenship, the chief executive of the Massey Energy Company in 2010 when a fire in the Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 miners—who should have been charged with murder but was earlier only convicted of a federal misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate mine safety standards—was sentenced by U.S. district judge Irene Berge to one year in prison and fined the maximum of $250,000.
That comes out to only about twelve or thirteen days in jail for the deaths of each one of those murdered workers.
That’s why Ann Bybee-Finley [ht: ja] has launched the “Making one year count” campaign, calling on people to send letters to Blankenship every day he is in prison:
She wants to show Blankenship how many people he affected and empower West Virginians to speak out against the abuses and influence of the coal industry in their state. . .
“He only gets one year and nothing we can say or do will change that right now. Working with what we got, how can we make this year more meaningful?” Bybee-Finley said. “If we could make it longer, a lot of people would, but we can’t, right now, so we have to take this alternative approach.”