Workers testify about mine conditions in ex-coal CEO trial

AP News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2015 5:12 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial, former miners testified about poor air quality and lack of focus on safety work before a deadly 2010 mine explosion.

In Charleston federal court Wednesday, Gary Young said he kept a notebook while at Upper Big Branch Mine, and wrote he was "set up to fail" at spreading rock dust to prevent explosions. He said he wasn't given enough time, help or proper equipment.

Michael Smith thought there was almost never enough air to mine legally. Brent Racer echoed air quality concerns.

Defense attorneys revealed memos where Blankenship ordered efforts to address safety violations.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break mine safety laws and lying to financial regulators about safety at the West Virginia mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.