A joint investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that thousands of mine operators fail to pay safety penalties, even as they continue to manage dangerous — and sometimes deadly — mining operations. Most unpaid penalties are between two and 10 years overdue; some go back two decades. And federal regulators seem unable or unwilling to make mine owners pay.
Another in a long line of studies showed conclusively that not only is black lung back, but that the worst form of the disease now affects a larger share of Appalachian coal miners than at any time since the early 1970s, shortly after a federal law meant to end the disease was passed.
Federal appeals judges have dismissed a coal industry complaint challenging a rule that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has used in stepped-up enforcement against coal mines accused of having poor safety records and a pattern of violations.
No mention of surface coal mining's effect on human health appeared in U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers' electronic update on the recent SOAR Health Impact Series even though it was one of the top two concerns voiced by participants …
Dust levels in coal mines are routinely under reported, and sometimes fraudently reported, putting miners unnecessarily at risk.