Recent investigative media reports from The Charleston Gazette, National Public Radio and the Center for Public Integrity found black lung is again on the rise in Central Appalachia -- Eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia -- and has quadrupled since the 1980s. Many new cases are showing up in surface miners.
|Lexington Herald-Leader photo|
Some experts say the current rate of black lung has reached "epidemic proportions," the Gazette's Ken Ward Jr. wrote on Coal Tattoo. He quotes California Democratic Rep. George Miller: "Republicans are sending a message that profits for their wealthy campaign contributors are more important than the lungs and lives of America's coal miners." West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller said regulations to limit black lung are "essential, especially when we know that black lung rates are rising in a new generation of miners." (Read more)