"The company that owns the West Virginia coal mine where at least 25 workers died this week has pressed its employees for higher productivity rates, sometimes at the expense of safety, according to regulators, lawyers who have sued the company and documents.
The 98-year-old Massey Energy Co., which went public a decade ago, has been acquiring reserves and bolstering its strong presence in the Central Appalachia coal basin. Its chief executive, Don L. Blankenship, has consistently asked for production updates as often as every two hours, according to court documents and interviews.
Some former regulators say the company did not pay enough attention to safety issues, especially those piling up at the Upper Big Branch mine where Monday's explosion took place."
Jerry Markon, David A. Fahrenthold, and Kimberly Kindy report for the Washington Post April 8, 2010.
"Mining Interests Are Heavily Invested in Capitol Hill" (Washington Post)
"Profile: Don L. Blankenship" (Washington Post)