Black Lung

Black Lung
2:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rockefeller Introduces Black Lung Legislation

Credit Department of Labor

Senator Jay Rockefeller co-sponsored legislation to address barriers and delays miners face when seeking benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Program.

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Inside Appalachia
6:54 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Is There A KY Bourbon Bubble? A New Album by a Folk Music Legend Alice Gerrard, and More

Steven Middleton visits the world's only ventriloquist museum, located in Kentucky
Credit Steven Middleton

This week's episode features Elizabeth Wells McIlvain helps employ 1,000 people in West Virginia, making Fiesta ware.And we learn that the number of jobs created by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillery industry has doubled in the last two years. We'll also explore some eccentric roadside attractions, including a Ventriloquist museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

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West Virginia Morning
8:42 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Lung Transplant Approved for Black Lung Victim

On West Virginia Morning, Jessica Lilly checks in with a victim of black lung whose lung transplant was approved after his story aired on West Virginia Public Radio in June.  And Chris Smithers sings the Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

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Claiming Benefits
9:16 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Retired Miner with Black Lung Approved for Transplant

Credit Jessica Lilly

Former coal miner Robert Bailey was recently approved for a double lung transplant after waiting months for a black lung medical benefits claim to be approved. We spoke with Robert Bailey in June when he was waiting to hear if Patriot Coal’s insurance company would approve his appointment for a medical evaluation. 

Bailey’s doctor told him he needed a lung transplant in February of this year. Since then, he’s been working towards the waiting list. As we reported in June, Bailey had to cancel an evaluation appointment as Patriot Coal’s insurance company, Underwriters Safety and Claims, evaluated his request for coverage.  We caught up with Bailey at his kitchen table in Princeton about three months later to recap his journey.

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Black Lung
4:09 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Sen. Rockefeller Works on Black Lung Bill With Pa. Senator Casey

Credit Department of Labor

Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jay Rockefeller and plan to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring more fair treatment for coal miners with black lung disease as they pursue benefits claims.

The bill by the two coal-state senators comes after an investigation examined how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, helped defeat the benefits claims of sick miners. The investigation was done by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

Senator Rockefeller introduced the Black Lung Health Improvements Act last year, but the new bill is expected to address issues uncovered in the investigation.

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1:32 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

The Law Works - Black Lung

The only weekly television series that deals with legal issues of concern to citizens across West Virginia.

Black lung disease was thought by some to be a disease of the past. It is not. It is not treatable or curable. Federal law says that a coal miner should work his or her entire life without incurring any disability from black lung. Why isn’t that happening? We’ll talk about Black Lung on this episode of The Law Works.

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4:12 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

New Data Shows Resurgence of Most Severe Form of Black Lung Disease in Appalachia

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:05 pm

The most severe form of black lung disease is at levels not seen since the early 1970s, according to new data from the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety.

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Public Health
3:48 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

"100 Years of Poor Health" Kicks Off W.Va. Public Health Dialogue

Credit Department of Labor

West Virginia University's School of Public Health is kicking off a series of monthly Public Health Dialogues this week. The first in the series is titled "Black Lung and Chemical Spills: 100 years of Poor Health in West Virginia."

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Black Lung
7:30 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Black Lung Victims Hope New Regs Provide a Different Future for Young Miners

Credit Jessica Lilly

Landmark regulation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration meant to lower the amount of dust in mines begins Friday. The first part is meant to fix the loopholes in the sampling process. Victims of black lung hope the new regulations give young workers a better future. 

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Black Lung Regulations
4:47 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

New Black Lung Regs Take Effect


The first part of the landmark regulation meant to prevent black lung disease takes effect Friday. This phase is meant to fix regulatory loopholes in the sampling process.

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Black Lung
5:16 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Miners Can Wait Years for Black Lung Benefits, Congress Listens

Credit Jessica Lilly

 A retired coal miner who suffers from black lung disease has urged Congress to help clear a backlog of claims of fellow miners who have the disease. Princeton native Robert Bailey testified at the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace hosted a hearing Tuesday. The hearing focused on the struggles miners face while seeking black lung benefits. Lawmakers say the testimony on Capitol Hill was meant to do three things:

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Mine Safety
5:57 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Federal Regulator Issues Citations to Wyoming Co. Mine for Black Lung, Explosion Hazards

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued 38 citations as a result of an inspection of Rhino Eastern LLC's Eagle Mine 3 in Wyoming County.  MSHA says inspectors found conditions that put miners at risk of developing black lung disease and increased the potential for deadly explosions.

According to a news release issued Monday, inspectors arrived at the mine mid-morning on June 24, securing the mine’s phone systems on the surface that provide communications to the underground mining section. They traveled to the underground working section, where they arrived undetected. There, they determined that the mine operator failed to follow approved ventilation, methane and dust control plans in several locations of the underground mine. 

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Combating Disease
3:53 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Federal Funding Reduced Third Year in a Row for Black Lung Clinics

There are currently eight black lung clinics across the state.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The federal government announced Wednesday a reduction in the amount of aid West Virginia’s eight black lung clinics will receive this year for operating and clinical costs. The announcement continues funding cuts for the state’s Black Lung Program for the third year in a row.

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Inside Appalachia
6:00 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Battling for Black Lung Benefits, Creative Paths to Fresh Food & More

A coal miner fighting for black lung benefits,

Creatively bringing fresh food to a city in West Virginia,

And, finding good use of an environmental pollutant.

Coal miner fights for benefits. Black lung disease has a long, crippling history in Appalachia. A former coal miner shares his battle for medical compensation after being diagnosed with the disease. Jessica Lilly  reports.

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West Virginia Morning
9:16 am
Thu June 12, 2014

State BOE Buys New Land at High Dollar, Fighting for Black Lung Benefits & More on Grow Ohio Valley

 The West Virginia board of Education approves the purchase of land in Gilmer Co. to consolidate schools there but, it comes at a cost four times its appraisal. A miner fights for health benefits and his life while living with black lung disease. Also, more from Wheeling's Grow Ohio Valley.

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Holding to Faith
12:25 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Black Lung Patient Races Against Clock for Transplant, Company Stalls

Bailey is carrying a bag with an on oxygen tank on his back. Medical tubes wind from the tank around his ears and over his slender cheeks carrying oxygen through a periodic puff to his nose.
Credit Jessica Lilly

Robert Bailey was a coal miner for 36 years. He began in McDowell County and after it became too hard to breathe, he retired from a mine owned by Patriot Coal in Boone County.

“Mostly because of my health and my breathing," Bailey explained between oxygen puffs. "My black lung condition.  I got where I felt like I couldn’t perform the way that I felt like I needed to."

In 2009 Bailey filed for disability and black lung benefits. After a few years of evaluations, and paperwork, the U.S. Department Of Labor determined that he deserved a monthly payment and medical care, which is a feat in itself. All the while, Bailey was struggling just to breathe.

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10:45 am
Fri May 30, 2014

The War On Coal Miners: How Companies Hide The Threat Of Black Lung From Watchdogs And Workers

Cheating on dust samples has been something of an open secret in the coal industry for years, a fact acknowledged by MSHA. Miners themselves play a central role in the cheating, since they're the ones who actually wear the dust pumps. Some take part because they don't want to get their own mine in trouble, believing it could hurt the employment prospects of everyone in the mine. Others take part because managers pressure them to. Doing dust samples on the up-and-up -- even if it means protecting oneself from black lung years down the road -- may not seem worth risking one of the only high-paying blue-collar jobs in town.
Posted: Print Article The dust was so thick that Justin Greenwell could barely see what was in front of him. A 29-year-old miner, Greenwell had grown accustomed to working in the coal dust below ground in the Parkway Mine in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Yet the prevalence of the dust in the air bothered Greenwell more and more.
9:06 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Pulitzer-Winner Chris Hamby, Landslides, and "For Critter"

On this WV Morning, a conversation with Chris Hamby who just won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigation into coal dust and the resurgence of black lung in the past two decades. Also: getting a grip on landslides in the state. And jazz guitarist Julian Lage Performs "For Critter" in the Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

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Pulitzer Prize Winner
3:18 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Year-Long Series Looks at Black Lung in Appalachia

Reporter Chris Hamby
Credit Center for Public Integrity

This week the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration released updated regulations designed to drastically reduce the amount of coal dust miners inhale, hoping to cut back on the prevalence of black lung disease.

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Black Lung
9:14 am
Thu April 24, 2014

New Coal Dust Regulations Revealed


Rulemakers are moving to make good on a 40-year-old promise to end black lung with the announcement of new coal dust regulations. Officials from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Labor, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced new coal dust regulations.

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