Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Promise Broken: Black Lung disease still the bane of coal miners

       Good Day Humboldt County!

The following story is another example of corporations ignoring weak laws set down by Congress. With no one to enforce the laws, it’s business as usual for coal mine operators who are looking to cut corners at every opportunity. Even when those opportunities endanger worker’s safety and ultimately their lives:

Via PBS: Deadly Black Lung disease rises among coal miners

Via Open Channel on MSNBC: Deadly black lung surges back in coal country

“Amid strikes throughout the West Virginia coalfields, Congress made a promise in 1969: Mining companies would have to keep dust levels down, and black lung would be virtually eradicated.

The disease's resurgence represents a failure to deliver on a 40-year-old pledge to miners in which few are blameless, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR has found. The system for monitoring dust levels is tailor-made for cheating, and mining companies haven’t been shy about doing so.

Meanwhile, regulators often have neglected to enforce even these porous rules. Again and again, attempts at reform have failed. In the hard-won 1969 law, Congress demanded that dust be controlled and new cases of disease be prevented. The idea was that, even if black lung didn’t disappear, there would be a small number of mild cases.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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