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Coal baron Don Blankenship, who spent a year in prison for his involvement in the deadliest US mine explosion in four decades, is running for Senate in West Virginia.
Blankenship was CEO of Massey Energy when the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 people.
In 2015, he was convicted conspiracy to violate mine health and safety standards — a misdemeanor — and was later sentenced to a year in prison before being released in May of 2017.
What does he say to voters who believe he has blood on his hands from the mining tragedy?
“The thing I would say to ’em is, Upper Big Branch deadly explosion is one of the biggest reasons they should vote for me if they’re, have family members or are involved in the coal industry. Unlike any other person that I know of, I stood up against the establishment when they falsely claimed that the explosion was caused by the coal miners,” he argued.
Blankenship also insists the mine exploded because of federal regulators.
“These miners have had 400 years of experience and they were forced to change the ventilation by a guy that was hardly old enough to shave, and by God, that has got to stop,” he said.