More on the Don Blankenship Trial

Historic event underscores huge changes in Appalachian coalfields.

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Tomorrow in Charleston, West Virginia, Donald L. Blankenship -- the former chief of now-defunct Massey Energy Co., which was based in Richmond for decades -- goes on trial facing four criminal charges, including conspiracy to avoid safety rules and lying to federal regulators.

The event that sparked the investigation was a massive explosion that killed 29 coal miners at Massey's Upper Big Branch, the country's worst in 40 years.

Massey has many ties to Richmond.

The trial is coming just as the coalfields are quickly hitting very bad times. For more details, I've written a more detailed story in today's Slate.com.

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