Groups petition Del. attorney general to revoke Massey charter

Manuel Quinones, E&E reporter
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
E&E News PM

Advocacy groups petitioned Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D) today to revoke Massey Energy Co.'s corporate charter.

The groups -- Free Speech for People, Appalachian Voices and the Rainforest Action Network -- said 35,000 people signed the petition, which cites Massey's environmental record and its role in the Upper Big Branch explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia last year.

"Having a corporate charter is a privilege, not a right," said Jeff Clements, Free Speech for People's general counsel, in a statement. "Delaware, as with other states, reserves the right to revoke or forfeit state corporate charters when they are abused or misused, as in cases of repeated unlawful conduct. Massey Energy has repeatedly demonstrated that it should not be entrusted with a corporation charter."

Two investigations, one of them by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, have produced reports saying Massey failed to give adequate attention to safety ahead of the Upper Big Branch disaster. Former Massey executives dispute that claim.

Alpha Natural Resources Inc. completed its purchase of Massey earlier this year. An Alpha spokesman has not returned requests for comment.

Activists made a similar request in June. A spokesman for Biden said he has received the petition and will review the matter.

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