The latest news on the black lung issue is this:
Coal companies are asking an appeals court to block implementation of the second phase of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration plan for addressing coal miners’ exposure to respirable dust, the cause of black lung disease.
Parties such as Murray Energy Corp., the National Mining Association, Walter Energy Inc. and the Alabama Coal Association are seeking to block implementation of the remainder of the rule ahead of its Feb. 1 rollout date. The rule was unveiled in April 2014 and aims to lower occurrence of black lung, a disease that has been a contributing factor in the death of 76,000 coal miners since 1968.
As that report, from SNL Financial’s Taylor Kuykendall, continues:
The industry argues the rule was unlawfully promulgated without the participation of the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health. Already, the filing states, the rule has imposed substantial burdens and costs in the form of re-engineering mines, purchasing expensive equipment, training and hiring personnel and new government certifications.
“These costs have hit a coal industry substantially weakened financially even compared to the already-weakened state it was in when the dust rule was promulgated in 2014,” the filing states.
You can read the industry court filing here, and there’s another media report on the issue out in the Herald-Leader:
The coal industry is seeking to forestall new standards aimed at cutting miners’ exposure to breathable dust that can cause deadly black lung disease.
Feb. 1 is the start date for the second phase of the rule. It would require miners to wear continuous personal monitors to check their exposure to dust, and companies would have to do more frequent sampling to check for compliance with dust limits.