don blankenship
As the families and friends of the 25 miners who died in a West Virginia mine explosion Monday are mourning, the spotlight is once again shining on the flagrant disregard for safety displayed by the mine’s owner. Don Blankenship, of the Massey Energy Co., which owns the Montcoal, West Virginia operation, contributed millions in 2004 to a duplicitous campaign to defeat a West Virginia Supreme Court justice he perceived as hostile to his interests and to elect a friendly one, prior to a hearing on a damage-award appeal involving Massey. He’s also a global-warming denier, a Chamber of Commerce shill and a participant in last year’s Labor Day Tea Party Rally. Read more about him here.

rob portman
Luckily for him, he’s got a friend in Ohio — Rob Portman. The Republican senatorial candidate is among the handful of lucky politicians Blankenship has favored with a donation so far this election cycle.

That got me wondering — what’s our old friend Robert Murray up to? You remember Bob Murray — the Chagrin Falls resident who heads the Murray Energy Corporation of Pepper Pike, owner of the Crandall Canyon (Utah) mine that collapsed in 2007, killing six miners and three rescue workers? It looks like he’s already bought himself an even larger chunk of Portman.

We won’t count on Portman to lead the crackdown on the string of violations and numerous unpaid fines the Massey Montcoal mine has racked up or a tightening of mining safety regulations. — Anastasia Pantsios

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