coal miners

Becca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

Retired coal miners face a one-two punch to their health benefits that could leave many of them in the lurch. A repeal of Obamacare and the expiration of miner’s health protections could make it hard for any coal retiree to get health care.

Becca Schimmel

Tens of thousands of retired coal miners and their families in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia face another deadline on expiring healthcare benefits and pensions. A temporary extension Congress funded late last year expires in April.


Rebecca Kiger

Can a photograph help a community grow? One photographer is shedding some light on ongoing efforts in a region looking for some new ways to sustain itself. Glynis Board of Ohio Valley ReSource reports.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Two Democratic members of Congress want three federal agencies to work together to get a more accurate count of coal miners suffering from progressive massive fibrosis, the worst stage of the fatal disease known as black lung.

The request is a response to an NPR investigation that shows 10 times as many cases of the advanced stage of black lung as identified and reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

Black lung is back in Appalachia. The Ohio Valley ReSource teamed with NPR to investigate the dramatic increase in cases of the deadliest form of the disease. In this two-part report, Benny Becker profiles one of the afflicted miners. The story begins in Pike County, Kentucky, where Dr. James Brandon Crum diagnoses a coal miner who is fighting for breath.

The path of the Ohio River snakes southwest out of Pittsburgh and forms the border between Ohio and West Virginia. Here, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains rise along its banks, and beneath that Appalachian soil lie the natural resources that have sustained the valley's economy: coal — and now, natural gas.

To people far away, who consume goods made with energy fueled by the Ohio Valley, coal and gas may be harmful agents of global warming.

But to people in Ohio coal country, a good life on the ground is paid for by what's underneath it.

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year.

A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough.

They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running.

Rebecca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

Congressional leaders say legislation to support health care benefits for retired miners could be attached to a must-pass spending bill this week.

iStockPhoto

Two of the Republican Party's top leaders have hesitated to support a bill that would preserve the pensions and health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners. 

West Virginia, Kentucky Activists Lobby for RECLAIM Act in DC

Sep 29, 2016
WKMS File Photo

Activists from West Virginia and Kentucky are in the nation’s capitol this week, lobbying in support of the RECLAIM Act.

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