Published Wed, Mar 6, 2013 3:51 pm Dateline
Members of West Virginia's congressional delegation have introduced a bill to help protect the pensions and health care benefits of coal miners.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller says he heard heartbreaking stories at a public hearing that he and Rep. Nick Rahall held in Beckley for families affected by Patriot Coal Corp.'s bankruptcy.
Patriot argues the legacy costs it inherited are "unsustainable."
But the United Mine Workers of America says 10,000 retirees and another 10,000 dependents could suffer - mostly in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
The Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act would shift excess Abandoned Mine Land funds to a UMWA pension plan facing insolvency.
CARE would also make a retiree who loses benefits to a bankruptcy eligible for a different benefit plan.