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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

Black Lung, Red Ink: Residents Press McConnell As Deadline Looms For Black Lung Fund

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On a cool but clear November day about a dozen residents from eastern Kentucky’s coal mining region crowded into the lobby of an office building in the small town of London, Kentucky. That’s where Kentucky’s powerful senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has his local field office. McConnell’s staff let the local advocates for black lung treatment… Read More

McConnell Hints At Action To Preserve Tax Supporting Black Lung Fund

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Amid a surge in cases of black lung disease, concerns are rising about the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which provides federal benefits to some coal miners with the disease. A tax that supports the fund would be cut by half at the end of the year unless Congress acts. Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicates… Read More