Reading and listening to the recent NPR, Center for Public Integrity, and Charleston Gazettearticles about the rise in black lung cases for coal miners saddens and angers me. Like many, I had — mistakenly, it turns out — assumed that black lung was declining, thanks to the efforts of leaders like West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
On top of that, it turns out that in recent days, Republicans in Congress (with the backing of the coal industry), have been successfully blocking mine safety measures that would help address this problem.
Ken Ward, Jr., of the Charleston Gazette has been writing about this issue for years, and recently catalogued the industry’s repeated efforts to fight safety standards that would control the mining dust that causes black lung. And now in recent days, Republicans in the House of Representatives have “inserted language in a budget bill…that would…
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