Coal Tattoo

The man who ran the Upper Big Branch Mine for Massey Energy testified today that former Massey CEO Don Blankenship thought it was cheaper to pay safety fines than to prevent the violations.

Chris Blanchard, former president of Massey’s Performance Coal Company subsidiary, told jurors that safety violations at UBB were an accepted part of doing business.

“There was an understanding that a certain number of safety violations were going to be written that could have been prevented,” Blanchard testified.

Blanchard took the stand just after lunch as prosecutors continued the 11th day of testimony in their case against Blankenship.

A key witness for the government, Blanchard reached a deal with U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin that gave him immunity.