Miners and their families are fighting for an extension of the black lung excise tax, which is set to expire at the end of 2018. Although Senator Mitch McConnell made a verbal commitment to work on extending the tax, he has showed no formal signs of following through despite a looming deadline. Reporter Sydney Boles talked with several miners, including previous ACLC board member and retired coalminer, Carl Shoupe, and discussed the excise tax with ACLC’s Deputy Director Wes Addington.

“Well it just shows you how responsive Congress can be to lobbyists from an industry that’s on its decline,” said Wes Addington, Deputy Director of the nonprofit Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center.

Addington is the son of a miner and the law center operates in Whitesburg, deep in eastern Kentucky’s coal country, where staffers work on black lung benefits and other mining community issues.

He noted that the trust fund has been especially important for Appalachian mining communities because of the region’s long history of mining and frequent problems identifying a company to take responsibility for a sick miners’ benefits.”

Read More: https://wfpl.org/black-lung-red-ink-residents-press-mcconnell-as-deadline-looms-for-black-lung-fund/