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Amid Black Lung Surge, Kentucky Changes Benefits Process For Miners

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William McCool is a 64-year-old former coal miner from Letcher County, Kentucky, with an advanced form of black lung disease. Health experts say the condition is entirely preventable with dust control measures in mines. But today, more miners in Appalachia are being diagnosed with severe black lung than ever before. “I’ve worked all my life,… Read More

Living With Black Lung: Coal Miners Caught In A Surging Epidemic

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The central Appalachian coalfields are in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of severe black lung disease. In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association federal researchers released the results of a study conducted at just three black lung clinics. The study confirmed 416 cases of the most severe form of black lung… Read More

Change Of Mined: Study Highlights Appalachia’s Tough Task Ahead

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At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future. Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single… Read More

Miner Change: Trump’s Big Talk On Coal Brings Small Change in First Year

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Donald Trump loves coal. He campaigned on a promise to put miners back to work and his first year in office included numerous Ohio Valley visits to highlight coal’s importance. “I love our coal miners and they’re coming back strong!” Trump said to a roaring crowd at an August rally in Huntington, West Virginia. At a March rally in… Read More

Clean Power Plan’s Repeal Gets Hearing In Coal Country

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Last month the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt chose an eastern Kentucky mining town as the venue to announce his intent to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions. On Tuesday the agency returned to coal country to conduct its only public hearing on the matter… Read More

Controversial Mine Safety Nominee Faces Final Vote

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A Senate vote is scheduled for Wednesday on confirmation for President Trump’s nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and… Read More

EPA’s Pruitt Visits Kentucky Coal Country To End Clean Power Plan

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt used a trip to Kentucky coal country to announce the Trump administration’s plans to dismantle a regulation that sought to limit carbon pollution. Pruitt visited Hazard, Kentucky, to make official what had long been anticipated: that he plans to halt implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The Obama-era regulation aimed… Read More

“Matewan” Revisited: Film Unearthed Region’s Buried Labor History

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Thirty years ago the premiere of a small-budget, independent film had an out-sized effect on how many people in Appalachian coal country thought about their region and their past. “Matewan,” directed by John Sayles, depicted a bloody chapter in the fight to organize coal miners in the 1920s, exploring themes of class struggle and pacifism in… Read More

Bipartisan Bill Would Prop Up Coal Miners’ Pensions

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A bipartisan Congressional group from the Ohio Valley and beyond introduced a new bill to save pensions for retired union coal miners throughout the region. The American Miners Pension Act, or AMP, would secure pensions for about 43,000 miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia whose retirement benefits have been undermined by the decline of the coal… Read More