Profile image
By Appalachian Voices
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Miners Take Black Lung Demands to D.C.

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Clarence Whisenhunt and David Mullins with David’s nephew Holden Hunnicutt were among the delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for fair policies for miners with black lung disease. Photo by Marcy Tate

Approximately 150 coal miners, widows and their loved ones traveled by bus from across Appalachia to Washington, D.C., to demand that Congress reinstate the tax rate that supports the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund and extend that rate for 10 years.

For miners suffering from the severe health effects of black lung disease, making the trip in the July heat was a challenge. In the capitol, the delegation met with 22 congressional offices and held a roundtable discussion that included four U.S. senators, miners and the president of the United Mine Workers of America. Miners and miners’ widows shared powerful testimony about the debilitating effects of the disease and the frustrating process required to access modest medical and living benefits.

Black lung disease is caused by repeated exposure to coal and silica dust, and rates of the deadly disease have hit a 25-year high in Appalachian coal mining states. The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund helps support coal miners and their surviving dependents in cases where the miners’ employer has gone bankrupt or has been found not responsible. Several coal companies have recently declared bankruptcy, highlighting the importance of this fund — but its solvency is in jeopardy.

The trust fund is supported by a small excise tax paid by companies per ton of coal sold domestically, at a rate that was unchanged for more than three decades. But Congress failed to extend the tax rate before the end of 2018, and it has now been cut by more than half. A May 2018 Government Accountability Office report projects that, at the slashed tax rate, the fund’s revenue will be unable to cover beneficiary payments and administrative costs as soon as 2020.

The reception in Congress was mixed. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) hosted the roundtable discussion and introduced the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act, S.2205, which would help miners access benefits and reinstate cost-of-living increases. And Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) introduced H.R. 3876 to restore and extend the excise tax to support the benefits fund.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met with miners for a couple minutes and offered assurances that benefits would not be cut, but did not commit to restoring the tax.

“We rode up here for 10 hours by bus to get some answers from him because he represents our state,” George Massey, a miner from Harlan County, Ky., told Reuters. “For him to come in for just two minutes was a low-down shame.”

While in Washington, D.C., the miners also urged the Mine Safety and Health Administration to enact a rule to lower the amount of silica miners can be exposed to in an effort to prevent the spread of this incurable, but preventable, disease.

The miners were joined by numerous organizations including chapters of the Black Lung Association, Appalachian Citizens Law Center, BlueGreen Alliance, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, The Alliance for Appalachia and Appalachian Voices, the nonprofit group that publishes this newspaper.

The post Miners Take Black Lung Demands to D.C. appeared first on Appalachian Voices.

Protecting the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountain Region


Support BeforeitsNews by trying our natural health products! Join our affiliate program
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at

Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver!  Destroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens with Oxygen plus Silver!Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!  
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

FINAL WARNING!   Diseases are EXPLODING!  Watch this Video about APeX and You'll THROW AWAY Your Colloidal Silver!   APeX destroys Viruses, Bacteria and other Pathogens with the power of Oxygen PLUS Silver!  Nobody else has a product like THIS!   See why the inventor hasn't been sick in 16 years and why you'll never hear about it on the FAKE NEWS!  Get some now and tell your friends about it too so we can reach more people!  

APeX Interview - Superior to Colloidal Silver from Lee Canady on Vimeo.

Learn about APeX Here and Get the 50 Page Report in PDF format.   Call us at 888-809-8385 to order by phone.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.