The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

March 13, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where’s justice for the fallen UBB miners

Editor’s Note: This letter was written to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin concerning the investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Bowden is the father-in-law of Steven J. Harrah, one of 29 miners who died in the blast.

Dear Mr. Goodwin,

April 5, 2014 is almost here. Four years since that awful day when 29 miners lost their lives, while two survived. That horrific day that changed so many lives, a day these families will never forget.

You asked the courts to delay civil trials and other actions so that you could investigate this tragedy and indict the individuals responsible. As to date, only two indictments have occurred (Stover and May). In The Register-Herald on Sept. 24, 2013, Gary May stated that he had been made a villain and an easy scapegoat. Does Mr. May want to tell the whole truth now?

In The Register-Herald on Nov. 26, 2013, Don Blankenship continues to tout “Safety at Massey” (copy enclosed). Mr. Blankenship wants us to believe an unpreventable surge of natural gas caused the explosion. Four separate federal, state and independent investigations all came to the same conclusion, this tragic loss of life was entirely preventable.

Each report showed that Massey was to “Run Coal at all Costs!” There were early warnings of inspectors being on the property, lack of rock dusting, poor equipment conditions, ventilation issues and many other problems at UBB.

Anyone can read these reports and see the TRUTH, production over safety. Enclosed you will find a letter dated Jan. 23, 2012. I still feel the same way today. Please review!

In closing, I knew in my heart and soul that Don Blankenship, the board of directors and the 18 individuals who pled the 5th would never be charged. This is just another example that shows money and politics make ideal bed partners! We will never see true justice for these miners but one day each of these individuals will meet their maker.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Jack D. Bowden Jr.


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