Republicans will attempt to spin the facts, but the truth is that coal cannot be labeled as “clean,” and coal mining is no safer than it was 100 years ago. The only real change in the industry is that there are fewer jobs mining coal today. Trump promised that if he became our president, he would create thousands of new jobs; another lie and another promise broken. Natural gas has replaced coal in most areas of our nation.
Here are a few facts about coal mining today.
Eleven miners lost their lives from accidental death in 2018. In the 1980’s it was routine when 100 workers died each year and a generation ago when the number was 1,000. These numbers reflect a decrease in the number of mines and miners. Less than 50,000 men and women are employed in the mines today, and many jobs have been lost to automation.
Treacherous working conditions are not the only dangers facing coal miners. Black lung disease continues to be the cause of premature death for those who work in the dark confines of a mine without clean air to breathe.
NPR is reporting that between 2011 and 2016 black lung disease was discovered in more than 2,000 miners in just five Appalachian states.
While income and employment are declining in those same five states the cost to our environment has skyrocketed. Owners of these mines have cut back on safety regulations and rules which would have reduced pollution in our water and air. In 2018 the number of cases of black lung disease have exploded. Federal inspectors have reported the following.
“We’re counting thousands of cases. Thousands and thousands and thousands of black lung cases. Thousands of cases of the most severe form of black lung. And we’re not done counting yet.”
Thank you, Donny Boy.
The Truth Lives Here
Op-ed by this “Wise Old Fart,” James Turnage
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