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Massey CEO: Mine Ventilation Problem Not Our Fault

A truck drives down the road near the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia.
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A truck drives down the road near the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia.

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship pointed blame for mine ventilation issues at federal regulators Thursday, suggesting that mine operators should have more control over ventilation processes underground.

Called before Congress to discuss Massey's Upper Big Branch mine blast last month, which killed 29 workers, Blankenship claimed regulators at the Mine Safety and Health Administration insisted on faulty safety standards prior to the blast.

"They forced us to ventilate backward," Blankenship told a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee.

MSHA Chief Joe Main quickly disputed Blankenship's claims Thursday, noting that at least one Massey mine continued to fail safety standards after the April blast.