Coal companies are asking the federal government to slash the money they must pay for miners’ healthcare during the coronavirus crisis — even though experts say miners are at an increased risk if they catch the virus.
As the Washington Post reports, coal lobbyists asked the government last month to allow cuts in taxes meant to contribute to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund in the coronavirus stimulus bill; those cuts did not make it into the final bill, but the lobby, “plans to keep pushing for it.”
Recent research shows that black lung is continuing to increase among miners due to new technologies, while bankruptcies in the coal industry in recent years has put the miners’ healthcare fund in jeopardy.
“I’m really concerned, I really am,” David Bounds, a retired West Virginia coal miner who suffers from black lung, told the Post of the coronavirus. “If a coal miner gets it, he ain’t hardly got a chance. I don’t want to see nobody leave the world because of that.”