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As Congressional Panel Focuses On Black Lung, UMW Urges Stronger Health Protections


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As Congress hears testimony on the epidemic of black lung disease among Appalachian miners, two labor leaders are calling on Congress and regulators to do more to protect miners. In a letter to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, the United Mine Workers of America and the United Steel Workers of America urged… Read More

As Calls For Action On Black Lung Disease Grow, Regulators Show Little Indication Of Change

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Harold Sturgill was disabled by black lung disease when he was 58 years old. Now he advocates for disabled miners. “When it comes to the mining companies, and it comes to the worker, it’s still all about production,” Sturgill said. “They could care less about me, how much dust I suck in, or how long… Read More

Remembering A Coal Miner Who Stood Up For Those With Black Lung

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Robert Bailey started mining coal in southern West Virginia’s McDowell County in the 1970s. By the time he retired from the Patriot Coal Company 36 years later he was already having trouble breathing. By the time I first interviewed Bailey in 2014, his black lung disease had become severe. “I’m in the process of a lung transplant,” he… Read More

West Virginia Coal Miners Rally For Black Lung Legislation

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Miners and advocates rallied Wednesday at the West Virginia Capitol in support of a series of bills aimed at preventing and treating severe black lung disease. Five bills introduced by lawmakers would make it easier to make qualify for state benefits and provide benefits to miners who have early-stage black lung. The bills come at… Read More

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Still Fighting: These Widows’ Stories Show Larger Effects of Black Lung Epidemic

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Nancy and Rich Potter had the kind of marriage that made other couples jealous. He’d take her on spontaneous trips. She’d wear her Daisy Dukes just for him. Joyce Birman said her late husband, George, made a terrible first impression. It was his apology for it that made her fall for him, hard. Vickie Salyers’… Read More

Still, They Persist: Black Lung Advocates Demonstrate At McConnell’s KY Office

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With just days left before a Congressional deadline, advocates for black lung treatment are still pushing Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell to secure funding for miners’ benefits. About two dozen people demonstrated Wednesday near McConnell’s regional office in London, Kentucky, carrying placards reading “Black Lung Kills” and singing along with a banjo tune modified for the occasion…. Read More

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Amid Black Lung Surge Pulmonary Rehab Brings Hope To Disabled Miners

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Marcy Tate grew up in southwest Virginia in a coal mining family. “My father-in-law was a coal miner, my father was a coal miner, my grandfather was a coal miner, my great-grandfather was a coal miner,” she said. Tate knew what black lung disease looked like. In 2003, her father-in-law passed away from what Tate… Read More

Data Dives And Shoe Leather: How NPR’s Howard Berkes Investigated Appalachia’s Black Lung Epidemic

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NPR is reporting that more than two thousand coal miners are now suffering from the most severe form of black lung disease, Progressive Massive Fibrosis, or PMF. And despite clear warnings, investigative reporter Howard Berkes shows, the mining industry and government regulators did little to stop it. Data loom large in this story: Berkes took a deep dive… Read More