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An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.

Federal Agency to Hear Comment on Silica Dust as Black Lung Epidemic Rages

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration will host a public meeting Thursday as it considers action on regulating respirable silica, one of the major contributors to Appalachia’s skyrocketing rates of black lung disease. MSHA issued a request for information in response to calls for increased regulation after a 2018 investigation from NPR and PBS Frontline. That… Read More

An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.

New Kentucky Memorial Honors Miners Who Died Of Black Lung

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Coal miners and family members of miners who have died from black lung disease gathered Sunday in Whitesburg, Kentucky, to dedicate a new memorial to miners who perished from the workplace disease. While Appalachian coal country has several memorials to mining disasters, this is believed to be the first memorial to remember the thousands of… Read More

Wayne National Forest sign

No Bidders for Coal Leases Inside Wayne National Forest

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The federal government says it received no bids during a competitive lease sale for coal underneath about 430 acres of Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. The Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States released the results of last week’s offering on Tuesday. Leases involved seven tracts in Perry and Morgan counties that contain an… Read More

Norton City Manager Fred Ramey poses at Flag Rock Recreation Area.

The Coal Town Betting Big On Outdoor Recreation

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Standing on the breezy outlook at Flag Rock Recreation Area, Norton City Manager Fred Ramey is taking in the panoramic view of downtown Norton, Virginia. The brick building-lined streets are framed by the verdant, rolling Appalachian mountains. Jagged, brown scars from mountaintop mining operations can be seen in the distance, reminders of the region’s history… Read More

Protesting miners blocked the tracks in the morning fog.

Former Blackjewel Miners End Railroad Blockade In Kentucky

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The nearly two-month blockade of a Kentucky railroad track is coming to an end as unpaid coal miners end their protest in order to take new jobs, start classes, or move away from their coal-dependent communities. When coal company Blackjewel abruptly declared bankruptcy in July, it left some 1100 Appalachian coal miners in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia without pay…. Read More

Wayne National Forest sign

Government Sells Coal Leases for Wayne National Forest Land

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) – The federal government is holding a competitive lease sale for coal underneath nearly 500 acres inside Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. The Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States says Wednesday’s sale involves seven tracts in Perry and Morgan counties that contain an estimated 1.4 million tons of sub-surface mineable federal coal. The offering… Read More

Near the scene of the miners’ protest in Harlan Co., KY.

Paychecks Cut For Some Blackjewel Miners; Others Still Wait

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West Virginia employees of coal operator Blackjewel LLC have received their final paychecks more than two months after the company declared bankruptcy on July 1. In an agreement reached last week between the Department of Labor and the company, Blackjewel cut paper checks for all owed wages to a few dozen employees working at the… Read More

A mining helmet for coal or other mining

Coal Mine Electrician Dies in Accident at West Virginia Mine

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia officials say a 40-year-old coal mine electrician has died in an accident. The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training says Steven Vernon Keeney of Sylvester died of injuries from an apparent electrical shock. The accident happened at 12:18 a.m. Tuesday at the Panther Creek Mining American… Read More

Piles of coal

Kentucky Labor Cabinet Requesting Bond Payment from Coal Companies

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has sent letters to coal and construction companies that might be in violation of a state law that requires a bond to cover employee wages. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that over the last few weeks, the cabinet wrote to 89 companies that have failed to pay the bond. Last… Read More

Matt Hepler of the advocacy group Appalachian Voices.

Idle Lands: Justice Coal Group Top User Of Loophole Allowing Mine Lands To Sit Idle

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Standing at an overlook on the top of Black Mountain — the tallest point in Kentucky —  the wooded Appalachian mountains stretch on like a sea of green for miles. For many, this mountain is synonymous with the coal industry. It straddles the state line separating Harlan County, Kentucky and Wise County, Virginia, two communities… Read More