Coal Mine CEO Blankenship's Revealing Tweets

"Believe me yet? Global warming is a hoax and a Ponzi scheme."

Those are the words from a Feb. 19th tweet written by Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who is in the spotlight following the deaths of 25 miners at his company's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia.

A CBS News review of Blankenship's tweets since early January finds him railing against environmentalists.

Blankenship takes the Sierra Club to task for tying up the legal system with "frivolous lawsuits." He criticizes environmentalist activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for taking government subsidies for his solar business, "RFK Jr. says green jobs will replace coal jobs. He's spending $1.4 billion to create 86 solar jobs. Massey employs 6000 workers. Do the math."

But on February 5th Blankenship had high praise for the federal agency that regulates his industry, the Mine Safety and Health Administration. He tweeted, "I applaud MSHA for recent focus on studying most common conditions/practices leading to accidents. Sounds very promising."

But Blankenship's company lagged far behind in its payments of MSHA penalties. The Upper Big Branch Mine South had 458 violations issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2009 according to agency records including seven ventilation violations in March 2010 alone. MSHA records show the mine has over $240,000 listed as "delinquent" penalties since January 2008 that have not been paid.

Blankenship is an active political operative who made $41,300 in direct campaign contributions to GOP candidates since January 2008. Donations went to Republican candidates including $30,400 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in November of 2009.

More about the Mine Disaster

Photos: W. Va. Mine Explosion

W. Va. Coal Mine Blast: The Victims

In Coal Mines, Risk of Death Is Part of Life

Mines not Paying Fines a Familiar Story

  • Laura Strickler

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