Our family's unknown man is my Great, Grandfather Harris, he was killed in a coal mining accident in Illinois. He left a young wife and two little girls. Why was he in Illinois? He immigrated because the Welsh village he grew up was devastated by a mine explosion and collapse. Devastated to the point that the village ceased to exist. They called it a disaster and it was. Young Harris moved from one disaster zone to another. He survived the first, not the second.
Coal mining has always been a dirty, nasty job. If you weren't killed underground you died later of the effects of black lung or of the injuries connected to your job.
Our republican President has promised that coal is coning back, it isn't and now this has happened:
Almost 23,000 retired coal miners and their dependents on Wednesday received official notification that they could lose their health care benefits by April 30.
“This is causing tremendous mental and in some cases physical trauma to these senior citizens,” United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said Wednesday. “They will now have to begin contemplating whether to continue to get medicines and treatments they need to live or to buy groceries. They will now have to wonder if they can go see a doctor for chronic conditions like black lung or cancer or pay the mortgage.”
For the last year, U.S. senators representing Ohio and West Virginia have worked to preserve health care coverage and pensions for retired coal miners. Roberts and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the health care coverage was originally slated to expire at the end of 2016, but Congress passed a four-month extension at that time.
Then the turd in the punch bowl floated to the surface...
When KY Sen. Mitch McConnell strode into the Capitol for last month’s State of the Union speech, he took with him a guest whose presence was sure to be seen as a slap against the Obama administration and its policies on coal.
“I brought along this unemployed coal miner here,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said, gesturing to fourth-generation mineworker Howard Abshire, “to see the person who put him out of work.”
The Senate majority leader said he wanted to call attention to President Obama’s “heartless” regulations that he argues have devastated communities in Abshire’s native eastern Kentucky. Yet just weeks earlier, McConnell’s office had delivered its own blow to Appalachian coal towns: It blocked efforts to rescue health and pension funds on which thousands of retired and disabled miners rely.
A plan that would ensure the solvency of the funds nearly made it through Congress in December as part of the bipartisan budget deal that cleared both chambers. But the bailout attempt — backed by key lawmakers from both political parties — was excluded from the deal at McConnell’s request, according to four Senate officials directly familiar with the events.
McConnell’s spokesman does not dispute that telling of events. And McConnell has not publicly explained his opposition to the measure.
Add to that, deregulation of existing mines, (read that as lax safety standards) lowering of water standards and increased mountain top removal operations and you get not only a perfect recipe for disaster you get zero no jobs because there is NO MARKET for COAL.
I wish some country singer would pen a song about "Coal aunt Comin' Back" or "Piss off Mitch" rather than more nonsensical bullshit about pickup trucks, beer and country girls in Daisy Dukes.
Patti Loveless wrote one...