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Gaming the system — Part III

In 2021, the Government Accountability Office found big problems with the Labor Department’s current rules because they do not require sufficient collateral to cover both current and future black lung liabilities.

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Gaming the system — Part II

Congress stated clearly that coal operators, instead of taxpayers, would shoulder the cost of black lung when it set up the Black Lung Trust Fund. The trust fund was intended to be a backstop for miners rather than a means for coal operators to underinsure their liabilities.

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Gaming the system — Part I

At its core, this is the age-old story of corporate greed whereby rapacious mine operators, who have subjected generations of miners to disabling and fatal black lung disease, managed to transfer their responsibility to pay black lung benefits to suffering coal miners from their corporate coffers to the taxpayer’s pockets.

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Black Lung Resurgence Drives Push to Protect Coal Miners Against Silica Dust

Silica dust is behind a dramatic increase in the number of miners becoming ill with the most severe form of black lung disease.

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Senators from Appalachian states request a federal study of whether black lung benefits are adequate

black and white graphic with skeleton wearing miner hat, text reads "black lung kills"

A study by the Government Accountability Office looking at the adequacy of current black lung benefits for miners and their families requested by U.S. senators should bolster ongoing efforts to improve those benefits.

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Bills Aim to Help Miners with Black Lung and Surviving Family Access Benefits

A painting of boots, a hat and other gear used by coal miners.

Miners with black lung disease face a difficult process to obtain modest benefits, as do their widows. Two bills in Congress aim to help miners with the disease and their bereaved families, including by tying benefit levels to inflation.

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Fighting for Black Lung Benefits for Miners and Families

A woman poses next to her husband with her arm around his shoulders.

Kathryn South’s husband, Mike South, was diagnosed with black lung disease at age 35. As they grappled with his disease, the couple also navigated the arduous legal process to obtain federal black lung benefits, a fight that Kathryn continued even after Mike’s passing.

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Permanent extension of black lung excise tax gives miners peace of mind

At this May 12, 2022, press conference, leaders from the Black Lung Association launched a statewide campaign for a long-term extension of the black lung excise tax.

Miners with black lung and their advocates scored a huge victory in the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act, which permanently extended the black lung excise tax that supports the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

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Confronting Rising Black Lung

Amid an ongoing surge in severe black lung disease among coal miners, federal lawmakers have introduced a number of bills aimed at assisting affected miners and their families. The Inflation Reduction Act shored up funding for benefits, and advocates are pushing for additional measures.

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Appalachian advocates praise U.S. Senate bill to improve federal support for miners with black lung

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 13, 2022 Contact: Chelsea Barnes, 614-205-6424, chelsea@appvoices.org Rebecca Shelton, 859-893-0543, rshelton@aclc.org Today, five U.S. senators introduced the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act aimed at improving the benefits process for disabled coal miners and their families. The

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