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.
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.
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.
By Rachel Ellen Simon For the vast majority of his nearly 100 years, Ken Hechler has been one of the mountains’ strongest advocates. A Democrat from West Virginia, Ken Hechler served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 straight…