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Blankenship Hand-Delivers Letters On Upper Big Branch To Manchin's Office,Tomblin's Reception Room

Reported: Apr. 11, 2014 11:44 AM EDT
Updated: Apr. 11, 2014 1:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) – Former Massey Energy chief executive officer Don Blankenship is continuing his campaign to share what he calls the real source of the Upper Big Branch disaster that killed 29 men.

Blankenship spent a busy Friday morning in the capital city, hand-delivering correspondence and addressing a national audience about the documentary he produced, "Upper Big Branch: Never Again."

Blankenship delivered letters to the Charleston office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's reception room at the state Capitol.

The letter asks five questions, among them if Manchin and Tomblin have asked for analyses of gas samples collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and what they have attempted or done to prevent another similar disaster.

Blankenship's documentary claims that scientific evidence reviewed by independent experts pins the cause of the explosion on a massive inundation of natural gas. Three separate investigations by MSHA, the United Mine Workers of America and an independent firm disagree, saying the explosion happened because of Massey's poor mining conditions and that a methane blast was fueled by coal dust.

Blankenship said he wants to make sure the officeholders consider all of the scientific findings “to make sure that the politicians or the legislators and the governor and the senators all know that natural gas was the cause of the explosion at UBB and that they've not done the things that might keep it from happening again.”

In addition to delivering his letters, Blankenship was a guest on the Fox Business Channel show "Opening Bell" Friday morning, talking about the UBB documentary and his belief that natural gas was the cause of the disaster.

Manchin has said he was lied to by the production company to gain his participation in the film and has demanded that he be removed from the documentary. Several family members of the victims have also protested the film and its message.

Manchin's office released this statement: “We have received a constituent letter from Don Blankenship and we will handle it in the same manner we handle all constituent mail. The only thing that makes this request unusual is that there is an ongoing federal investigation related to his request. We will handle this issue in the appropriate manner.”

Tomblin's staffers told Blankenship that policy forbids them from accepting hand-delivered letters and requested he send the note via the U.S. Postal Service.

Blankenship said he also plans to deliver the letter to the offices of U.S. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and Nick Rahall.



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