Coal

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.

Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

As Kentucky regulators and utilities are pushing to loosen regulations on the state’s coal ash ponds and landfills, more pollution problems are emerging at one of the sites in central Kentucky. Erica Peterson of Louisville Public Media reports.

WKMS File Photo

An employee of a western Kentucky mine has been indicted by a federal grand jury for falsifying safety records and lying to inspectors. 

Southwings and Vivian Stockman via WFPL

Congress is enacting a little-used provision this week to turn back Obama-era regulations on coal mining near streams. The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would block the Stream Protection Rule, and the Senate is expected to do the same Wednesday evening or Thursday.

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, via Facebook

Kentucky has joined a dozen other states in a complaint against a federal effort to balance environmental protection and the coal industry.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross heads for Senate hearings this week as Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Commerce. Ross gained ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets here in the Ohio Valley region. Glynis Board of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports on the mixed legacy his businesses left behind.

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.

Erica Peterson, WFPL

Residents of Kentucky’s coal counties are holding out hope that next year will bring the passage of the RECLAIM Act — legislation meant to free a billion dollars from the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to help spur economic development in communities hurting from the downturn in the coal industry.

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.

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.

Pages