A federal grand jury in West Virginia indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for allegedly thwarting mine safety enforcement and conspiring to violate mine safety law when the company owned the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, NPR reports. In 2010, the mine exploded and 29 miners died. The indictment also accuses Blankenship of lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the company’s safety practices and stock purchases.
William Taylor, Blankenship’s attorney, said in his client is innocent and will fight all charges. Blankenship has been an outspoken critic of mine safety measures and environmental policy. United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts says the indictment brings families of the victims of the Upper Big Branch explosion and other accidents “one step closer to a measure of justice.” The case was the subject of a book by Laurence Leamer, “The Price of Justice.”