Justice in coal country

God bless D. Booth Goodwin II. He’s the U.S. attorney who, at long last, really stuck it to a coal company. After years of token penalties that have been far too small to motivate the companies to make their mines safe, the $209 million he got from Alpha Coal—the successor to Massey Energy, the company responsible for the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine two years ago—is forty times the amount of the highest penalty in the past. The next step for Goodwin (as Diane Sawyer, alone among network anchors reporting the settlement, made clear) is to nail Don Blankenship and the other Massey executives responsible for the practices that led to the disaster.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Charles Peters

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.