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Upper Big Branch Update


So the Huffington Post ran a front page story today on Massey investors calling for CEO Don Blankenship’s head. They also included a link to the infamous Nightline incident that I posted about previously. It’s great to see Don Blankenship facing increased scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would like to see him face criminal charges for his involvement in the Upper Branch Creek mine disaster as well as the well water contamination in Mingo County, WV featured in “Toxic Soup,” not to mention the Martin County Kentucky coal slurry disaster, a 300 million gallon spill that was more than twice the size of the infamous Exxon Valdez accident. The Martin County Kentucky coal slurry disaster is the focus of the documentary “Sludge.”

Although we shot a lot of coal / MTR related stories when we were in West Virginia and Kentucky, we thought it was wiser to construct a separate thirty minute documentary focusing on the issue. We interviewed the Dustbusters — Pauline Canterberry and Mary Miller — who live near the Upper Big Branch mine and have been fighting Massey Energy for years. Their homes have lost more than 90 percent of their value due to the poor quality of air. We also interviewed Larry Gibson and retired coal minter Chuck Nelson on Kayford Mountain, another Massey related MTR site with serious issues. Moreover, we interviewed Dr. Michael Hendryx of WVU about his groundbreaking study connecting serious health issues directly with living in coal mining areas as well as West Virginia legislator Larry Barker who represents Boone County, West Virginia, deep in the heart of coal country. Again these stories will be an addendum to “Toxic Soup” and won’t be finished until 2011 sometime.

Larry Gibson defends Kayford Mountain

Kayford Mountain Massey MTR mine

Kayford Mountain

retired miner Chuck Nelson

Boone County, West Virginia

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