"Advocates Decry Attempt To Halt New Silica Rule Meant To Protect Miners"

"Language in a proposed bill that directs funding for government agencies for fiscal year 2025 would disallow the funds to be used for the implementation of the rule. Meanwhile, state policies incentivize mining activities that put workers at higher risk of developing deadly black lung."

"A single line included in the proposed annual appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Labor and other agencies could — if adopted by congress later this year — halt the implementation of a newly finalized rule limiting the amount of silica dust miners are exposed to while working underground.

The inclusion of the language, advocates say, is a direct insult to and betrayal of the nation’s miners, who are being diagnosed with complicated black lung disease at higher rates and younger ages than ever before.

A subcommittee voted to advance the bill on Thursday to the full U.S. House Appropriations committee, where it is scheduled to be up for a vote on July 10 before moving to the full House. As it currently stands, the bill explicitly outlaws the use of any funding directed to the Department of Labor or the Mine Safety and Health Administration in fiscal year 2025 for the implementation of the first-of-its-kind MSHA rule.

“Inserting this into an appropriations bill shows how deeply unserious [some politicians] are about protecting workers,” said Quenton King, a federal legislative specialist for the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices. “The [federal Mine Safety and Health Act] gives MSHA the right to do this. Stopping it now would be a terrible travesty for the thousands of coal miners who mine coal every day and who are being irreversibly harmed because of it.”"

Caity Coyne reports for West Virginia Watch July 1, 2024.


Source: West Virginia Watch, 07/08/2024