Friday, August 17, 2018

Coal town in Southwest Virginia passes resolution supporting Black Lung Disability Trust Fund

The City Council of Big Stone Gap in Southwest Virginia (pop. 5,643) unanimously passed a resolution supporting the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, the first in the nation to do so.

"At the July 10 council meeting, concerned residents of Big Stone Gap, Pennington Gap and Whitesburg, Ky., came together to ask council to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund," Terran Young reports for The Post in Big Stone Gap. "The per-ton excise tax that currently supports the fund will be cut in half at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t act. This would leave more that 20,000 people uninsured, 8,000 of those in central Appalachia."

The resolution notes that Central Appalachia is economically distressed because of the coal industry's decline, that black-lung rates are surging among coal miners, and that those coal miners need the benefits provided by the trust fund, Young reports.

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