Join the Fight to Revoke Massey Energy's Corporate Charter
Two years ago on April 5, 2010, the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia exploded, killing 29 miners who were working inside.
An official state report found that Massey Energy, the corporation that owned the mine, was responsible for their deaths. And now the mine’s superintendent has pled guilty to federal charges related to the explosion.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called Massey a “criminal enterprise”1, and we agree. That’s why we’re calling for Massey’s corporate charter to be revoked by the state of Delaware, where Massey is officially based.
Join our call to put Massey Energy out of business.
A corporation as reckless as Massey should lose its right to exist. As Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, recently wrote in Yes! Magazine, “charter revocation effectively constitutes the death penalty for a corporation. Even occasional use against large corporations would be a major deterrent to corporate wrongdoing."2
The evidence of corporate wrongdoing continues to mount. Another mine official was sentenced on criminal charges earlier this year, “for lying to investigators and ordering a subordinate to destroy... documents.”3
Now the mine superintendent, who pled guilty last week, is alleged to have “manipulated the mine ventilation system during inspections to fool safety officials and [to have] disabled a methane monitor on a cutting machine.”4 These actions appear to have contributed directly to the lethal explosion:
“Three investigations of the tragedy concluded that the company allowed highly explosive methane and coal dust to build up inside the mine, where it was ignited by a spark from an improperly maintained piece of cutting equipment. Clogged and broken water sprayers then allowed what could have been just a flare-up to become an epic blast, the investigations found.”5
We, the people (acting through state governments), grant corporate charters, conferring valuable privileges including limited financial liability and perpetual life. Just as surely as we grant those charters, we also have the right to revoke them.
Since Massey Energy is chartered in Delaware, like most major U.S. corporations, we’re calling on Delaware’s attorney general, Beau Biden, to revoke Massey’s charter. Along with our partner organizations in this campaign, Appalachian Voices, Credo Mobile and Rainforest Action Network, we’ve gathered more than 35,000 signatures on this call to action.
We met with Attorney General Biden’s office in September, and members of West Virginia’s coal mining families, including the sister of one of the miners who was killed, helped to deliver these thousands of signatures, along with their own call for justice. Biden’s office has since confirmed that they are actively reviewing the matter.
Will you sign on now, to help ensure that justice is done?
For more information, click here.
1. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., audio recording from a press call, Sept. 16, 2011.
2. "Special Weapons for Fighting Giants", Yes! Magazine, March 14, 2012.
3., 4., & 5. "Ex-superintendent pleads guilty in mine blast case", by John Raby, Associated Press, March 29, 2012.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
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By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
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By Andrea Germanos
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