The coal industry is trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic for a tax break at the expense of healthcare and disability benefits for miners with black lung, but miners are pushing back.
As coal miners with black lung disease have a heightened risk of complications from coronavirus, black lung healthcare providers work to respond to the global pandemic.
For decades, coal companies ignored a federal requirement to provide enough funds for black lung benefits — and the government let them.
Congress temporarily reinstated a tax on coal companies that funds black lung benefits for miners and their families in December. Advocates continue to push for further protections for coal workers.
The Black Lung Association has a storied history of fighting for miners’ rights to occupational healthcare. Today, that fight continues as rates of the disease continue to climb.
Bankrupt coal company Blackjewel owes nearly $10 million in taxes to the fund that provides benefits to miners with black lung disease whose employer has gone bankrupt.