April 23, 2014

Manchin Statement on MSHA Black Lung Rule

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released a rule to lower miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust in all underground and surface coal mines.

“I have always said that when it comes to the coal industry, the health and safety of our miners must be our top priority. Our coal miners have mined the coal that keeps our lights on, heats our homes and powers our businesses and it is unacceptable that they still face the threat of black lung disease. With cases of this debilitating disease again on the rise, I applaud MSHA’s efforts and look forward to working with them to find the most effective way to protect miners.”


Senator Manchin, along with Senator Rockefeller, introduced S. 805, the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act, which would require within six months of passage the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to finalize regulations to lower the permissible breathable dust exposure levels and update testing procedures to find the maximum protection from breathable dust that can be achieved through environmental controls.

Senator Manchin continues to fight to protect funding for West Virginia Black Lung Clinics. On April 3, 2014, he sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure grant programs receive the appropriate funds so patients suffering from black lung disease get the treatment and medical services they need. To read more information, please visit Senator Manchin’s website here.

In March 2014, Senator Manchin sent a letter, along with Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Rahall, on a proposed Department of Labor rule that could limit the ability of miners suffering from Black Lung disease to access medical records needed to prove their eligibility for federal benefits. To read Senator Manchin’s letter, please click here.

Senator Manchin has also worked to decrease the backlog of black lung cases to ensure that miners receive the benefits they have earned.