Forty years ago today, on March 8, 1969, the West Virginia Legislature passed a state black lung compensation bill after the United Mine Workers demonstrated to demand the legislation. (Thanks to my UMWA calendar for reminding me of the anniversary)
My colleague, Paul Nyden, wrote about this in his recent project about the Farmington Disaster. That’s still on the Gazette Web site.
Over at WVFILM, one of the Gazz blogs, Steve Fesenmaier wrote a while back about a three-part documentary on black lung. And one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Yonder, ran this piece by Betty Dotson-Lewis urging President Barack Obama to be the president who finally ends this deadly disease.
One of my journalism heroes, Ralph Dunlop, co-authored a major project last year for the Louisville Courier-Journal about black lung, and the C-J’s series, “Dust, Deception & Death” remains a classic (albeit depressing) piece of journalism.
Over at the Pump Handle, they’ve reported on the efforts of Nathan Fetty, a lawyer with the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, and the folks at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Kentucky to force the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to tighten its limits on coal dust in underground mines. Nathan tells me oral arguments in that case are scheduled for April 29 before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.