coal mining

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.

Across Appalachia, coal miners are suffering from the most serious form of the deadly mining disease black lung in numbers more than 10 times what federal regulators report, an NPR investigation has found.

The government, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported 99 cases of "complicated" black lung, or progressive massive fibrosis, throughout the country the last five years.

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.

The nation's biggest miners' union and Patriot Coal Co. say they have reached a potential settlement over the severity of wage and benefits cuts a bankruptcy judge had allowed the company to impose.

Patriot Coal to Close Surface Mine in Henderson

Nov 5, 2012

Patriot Coal Corporation says it plans to close a Henderson County surface mine by the end of the year. The Bluegrass Mine Complex near Hebbardsville in Henderson County employs 89 workers. Henderson County Judge-Executive Hugh McCormick tells The Gleaner he’s very disappointed about the announcement, and it will impact the area's economy.