Wall Street Brushes Aside Massey Mining Disaster; Gives Stock the Go-Ahead

For years, Massey Energy has been engaged in what a Washington Post editorial called “a distressing effort to render ineffective the mining regulations that were strengthened in 2006 to bring a measure of safety to a very dangerous job.” By ignoring–and then challenging–an array of safety regulations, the company avoided a lot of expense and bother. Of course, it also placed its workers’ lives at risk–but apparently, Massey gambled it could lose a few miners and still make a profit.

This morning’s news from Fox‘s “MarketWatch” proves the company right, as Wall Street analysts conclude that the “financial impact” to Massey of the 29 deaths “will be immaterial.”

NEW YORK — Massey Energy on Monday drew an upgrade to buy from hold at S&P Equity Research, while analysts cut their 2010 earnings estimate by 7 cents a share to $2.55 a share on production losses and costs following an explosion that killed 29 miners. “We believe that the financial impact of the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy to Massey Energy will be immaterial,” S&P said in a note to clients. “Our opinion is based on our analysis of industry mining accidents, Massey’s indemnification to litigation via insurance, and our belief that the company has ample capacity to mitigate most of the 1.6 million tons of production that was expected to be sold from Upper Big Branch.”

Also worth reading today: Art Levine’s piece on Truthout about Massey’s history of union-busting, and its effect on mine safety.

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