Black lung is a devastating disease where coal dust gets embedded into the respiratory system, and coats lungs with black particles that make it nearly impossible to breathe. In the last 50 years, more than 75,000 people have died from black lung, and new reports show that the disease is resurging among American miners and those living around coal mines -- making it deadlier than ever before.
But even though this incurable disease is on the rise, if Congress doesn't act this year, a federal black lung trust fund to help sick and dying coal miners suffering from the disease could be financially paralyzed. The fund could face billions in deficit, potentially forcing thousands of people with black lung to go without needed care.
Demand Congress focus on this issue, and keep the solvency of the black lung trust fund intact.
The fund is supported by a $1.10 per ton tax on underground coal production, and provides medical and living expenses for those miners afflicted with black lung. The fund helps provide resources for miners, many of whom don't get the benefits they were promised by coal companies that have either gone bankrupt or which have failed to provide adequate insurance.
There was bipartisan legislation considered earlier this year to keep the fund going at its current level, but coal industry lobbyists pushed Congress to drop the issue. But with black lung on the rise and devastating more families and workers, why would the federal government let this fund spiral toward death?
Help push members of Congress to do right by thousands of coal miners suffering from black lung or who will contract black lung.