Bill Seeks Moratorium on Mountaintop Removal Permits | Black Lung Increasing in Appalachia

New Bill Seeks Moratorium on Mountaintop Removal Permits

Representatives in Washington introduced a bill that would halt permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining until federal studies on health impacts can be conducted.

Thirteen congressional representatives from nine states unveiled H.R. 5959, the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act in mid-June, with the help of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency organization, a non-profit collaborative grassroots campaign established by Christians for the Mountains, Coal River Mountain Watch and Mountain Health & Heritage Association.

According to author Wendell Berry, “As certain people of the Eastern Kentucky coalfields helped me to understand nearly 50 years ago, the fate of the land and the fate of the people are inseparable. Whatever affects the health of the land must affect the health of the people.”

For more information about the ACHE Act, visit:

Black Lung Increasing in Appalachia

According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR News, black lung in coal miners is not only still very much around, it’s actually growing worse. The report incorporates research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that shows black lung cases have increased 3.2 percent in the past decade, and the prevalence of the most severe form of the disease has tripled since the 1980s.

Out of 24 victims from the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in 2010, 17 had signs of black lung — some of whom had spent fewer than 10 years in mines. The report goes on to look at issues in the Mining Safety and Health Administration inspection process as well as endemic corruption in the coal industry which leads coal miners, fearful of losing their jobs, to cheat when taking air dust samples for inspectors.

To read the full report, visit

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