Updated Election Results for Nader/Gonzalez State by State

Nader Calls on Governor Manchin to Stop Massey From Blasting at Coal River Mountain

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM

Press Release
Contact: Ryan Mehta, 408-348-0681, rmehta@votenader.org

Presidential candidate Ralph Nader today called on West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) to stop Massey Energy from blasting the top off of Coal River Mountain in the southern part of the state.

Manchin has until now ignored pleas from citizen groups in West Virginia and around the country to issue a "stay of execution" to prevent the mountain from being destroyed.

Nader said that the top of mountain is a perfect site for a wind farm and that Massey's blasting the top off would lower it by 500 feet, making it unusable for wind turbines.

Nader also criticized Manchin for intervening in a Supreme Court case on behalf of DuPont  in an effort to overturn a $382 million pollution judgment against the chemical giant.

Throughout his career, Nader has been a fighter for West Virginia's environment and its workers.

Nader was instrumental in the passage of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. The law created the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the first comprehensive federal regulation of the coal mining industry.

"In less than one month from today, we will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the explosion and fire at the Consol No. 9 mine at Farmington, West Virginia," Nader said. "That mine disaster took the lives of 78 miners and led to the passage of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act less than a year later."

In the wake of the Farmington disaster, Nader and his staff of Nader's Raiders worked closely with reporters from around the country – including Jack Anderson, Brit Hume, Ben Franklin of the New York Times, The Nation's Robert Sherrill, and Ward Sinclair of the Louisville Courier Journal – to publicize the legislative battle for coal mine safety.

Nader's Raiders also worked Capitol Hill along with allies from the West Virginia Congressional delegation, including then Congressman Ken Hechler, to secure passage of the law.

The law also successfully secured benefits for miners who suffered from the crippling coal miner's pneumoconiosis – black lung disease – a respiratory illness caused by the inhalation of coal dust.

Nader led the fight with dissident doctors against the West Virginia medical establishment which for years denied that black lung posed any serious risk to miners.

One of the dissident doctors, Dr. Hawley Wells, would meet with West Virginia miners and their families. He would show the workers a piece of blackened lung, crumble it in his hand, and say "You're crazy if you let them do this to you."

In a July1968 article in the Charleston Gazette, Nader wrote: "Congress, which has displayed such staunch efforts to preserve tax depletion allowances for companies engaged in extractive industries, should have little difficulty persuading itself of the need for preventive measures to diminish the bodily depletion of their employees."

The passage of the coal mine safety law in 1969 led to safer coal mines and hundreds of millions of dollars of benefits to West Virginia miners and families – compensating them for the black lung disease that many paid for with their lives.

But Nader said that despite much progress over the years, the coal companies like Massey still get their way – to the detriment of workers, taxpayers, and residents of the state.