Blankenship released today from halfway house; Taking to Twitter; Manchin responds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is finishing up a one-year federal prison sentence related to the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website, Blankenship has been released from a halfway house in Phoenix, Arizona. He must serve one year of supervised release.

And he’s already Tweeting a lot, calling out Senator Manchin in one.  Click here to see his Twitter page.

Blankenship was sentenced last year for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion.

In January, a three-judge appeals panel affirmed Blankenship’s 2015 conviction.

Blankenship, who’s 67, served most of his sentence at Correctional Institute Taft near Bakersfield, California.

MANCHIN STATEMENT ON DON BLANKENSHIP’S RELEASE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today issued the following statement to the families of those miners who lost their lives in the tragedy at Upper Big Branch upon the release from custody of former Massey Energy chief executive Don Blankenship, after serving just one year for conspiracy to break safety regulations at the Upper Big Branch mine, which resulted in the death of 29 coal miners.

“Don Blankenship doesn’t have to answer to me and he doesn’t have to answer to federal authorities anymore, but he does have to answer to the loved ones of the miners who died in his mine for the rest of his life. His refusal to accept responsibility for his criminal actions even now only exacerbates these grieving families’ pain. The families of the fallen 29 brave miners deserve better, so I hope that Mr. Blankenship chooses to do the right thing and disappear from the public eye.”

“In the meantime, I will continue to work every day to ensure that a tragedy like Upper Big Branch never happens again. I introduced legislation that would increase penalties on coal company executives who fail to provide a safe work environment and put the health and lives of our miners at risk.  Our miners helped build this nation.  They should leave their homes every morning knowing they will return to their families every night. I encourage Congress to take up and pass this commonsense legislation as soon as possible.”