CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who appears in Don Blankenship’s new documentary on the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy, said Monday he was misled about the intent of the film and Blankenship’s involvement.

The production, “Upper Big Branch — Never Again,” was produced by Adroit Films and financed by Blankenship, the former Massey Energy CEO. He continues to promote that the 2010 incident in which 29 miners died was the result of a natural disaster gas explosion and not unsafe work conditions cited by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Manchin, who supports the MSHA’s evaluation, said he was never told of Blankenship’s backing when the production team interviewed him about mine safety.

The senator released the following statement Monday:

“Adroit Films, the propaganda firm behind this shameful documentary, never disclosed to me the intent of this film. They lied to my face and told me this documentary was focused on mine safety, an issue I have been committed to since the Farmington Mine disaster that killed my uncle and 77 miners. Had I known the film was in any way associated with Don Blankenship, I would have never agreed to the interview. I spoke with them for more than half an hour about mine safety and how we must prevent an Upper Big Branch disaster from ever happening again. Yet, the producers only dedicated one minute and thirty-two seconds of my thirty-minute interview to mine safety – one of the most important issues in West Virginia – to attempt to vindicate Don Blankenship. He should be more concerned with his role in the deaths of 29 brave miners and the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation rather than filming a propaganda documentary. I am not only livid that I was lied to, but I am even more enraged that Don Blankenship would manipulate a tragedy to promote himself and his own agenda. I am going to pursue every legal recourse available against Adroit’s despicable tactics. The most tragic part of all of this is that the families of these miners are forced to suffer yet again at the hands of Don Blankenship.”

Blankenship was the president at Massey Energy when a massive explosion happened at its Upper Big Branch mine on April 5, 2010.

The MSHA concluded Massey Energy manipulated records to conceal hazards at the mine.

The documentary does include a disclaimer at the beginning:

“The experts interviewed for this documentary are commenting on forensic evidence and scientific principles. Their participation in this documentary is not in association of affiliation with Don Blankenship nor with one another.”

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Comments

  • Darryl

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  • UnpabyPailill

    test post content, ssory!

  • scott

    Ahhhhhh....I believe they already put a mine foreman in jail for a couple monthes for faking records at the mine....no rich guy is going to do a second of time over this.

    Look at the supreme courts decision today...dont you people know your place?

    Money walks and talks....regular folks get out of the way.

    • Ronin

      ... something about "letting God sort 'em out"...

  • MountieFan16

    Manchin is an embarrassment to the Great State of WVa. This man has towed the line behind Obama and his ilk. Has anyone taken a look at what Obama and his cronies have done to the Coal industry? Has Manchin really stepped up to stop the Left's war on Coal? This man has stabbed West Virginians and America in the back. Who voted for him?

    • Ronin

      Coal mine owners and operators have been killing people since the Battle of Blair Mountain, and you still believe the sun rises and sets on them?

      I will never understand the folks who fight tooth and nail to defend the people standing on their backs, killing their kin and paying them pennies on the dollar to dig their own graves, while screaming about anyone who tries to make the owners and operators responsible for those deaths or the environmental catastrophes they create.

    • scott

      yes...thank god for the coal industry

  • John

    Joe thought he would be on national TV and said yes.....right Joe?

  • Jonus Grumby

    Funny, I actually liked Joe as governor. As a senator, no way. I have a hard time determining where he stands now. He's become another one of Obama's lackeys.

  • John

    Also when the floor gas hits you will gas off on your sniffers in seconds depending on ventilation velocitys, usually in matter of a seconds. When this happens your sniffers will burn up due to the high concentration of methane. Before you will be able to start production back up, all sniffers will have to be changed out. When the gentleman spoke about rock dusting, his point is valid. The black sut will cover the rock dust up and it will look like you never ever rock dusted.

  • John

    I know many people may not believe some of the documentary but, I know from experience floor gas is common in long wall mining. I worked for U.S. Steel Ming in Pineville and we had several instances where we hit floor gas. One particular time in the 90's we lost a weeks production due to over pure floor gas was detected over 25% at a legal check. We lost one week of production. In 2004 we a pop off in the gob that knock at all stoppngs in the tailgate and black sut was blown out of the gob all the way down the tail entry. No person were hurt because this happened on the week end of Labor Day. MSHa knows about this because we ended up losing 9 months of production. So there reasoning could be very well true. I know other problems existed but when floor gas hits , the bottom cracks and busted up, hooves up etc.

    • Ronin

      "This is true, because I used to work for a mine, and since I have no last name and there is no way for you to see if I was even in that mine, you'll just have to take my word for it that I'm not a Massey Energy PR guy posting spin-control."

  • Bill

    Old Joe looks like his nose has growed, I can't believe anyone would fall for this crooks BS!

  • Mike

    I wouldn't believe JM if he said the sun came up in the east and sit in the west. JM is not for the state of WV. He is nothing more than a BHO puppet.

  • mikeyd

    two faced joe ,did you expect anything less

  • Woodchuck

    Why be upset. Just take your medicine and pay more taxes.

    So much for your word having any value. Did you think we were believing you any way?

  • Thomas as in doubting

    Governor Manchin was picked up in Florida and brought to WV on the Massey plane after the explosion.

    • s

      I assume from your remark that it would have been appropriate for Massey to tell him to come back Commercial! It seems to me that Massey did the decent thing for the Governor. But then, that is My Sense of Decency.

  • 2XLPatriot

    In no way do I think Blankenship is innocent and would never say anything to tarnish the memories or sacrifice of the miners but, Joe got what he deserved. Any opportunity to self promote and get his face on the airwaves came back to bite him in the butt. He should be enraged that he was lied to......The feeling is mutual.

  • Brian

    Opening paragraph of this story. . .

    "U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who appears in Don Blankenship’s new documentary. . ."

    Closing paragraph of this story. . .

    "The experts interviewed for this documentary are commenting on forensic evidence and scientific principles. Their participation in this documentary is not in association of affiliation with Don Blankenship nor with one another."

    So just whose documentary is this? Who paid for it?

    Regardless this is a DB move to get Joe out of office. Joe is drinking the DC Dem kool laid and is already getting himself out of office if voters have more than 5 minutes if memory.