Today, Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), along with Rep. Bill Enyart, Jr. (D-IL), introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide research grants for coal mine safety and lung treatment and prevention.
"This legislation provides funding of education and training programs to better identify, avoid, and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around mines," said Rep. McKinley. "It would also specifically fund research into the prevention and treatment for black lung disease of our hard-working miners. It's only common sense that if a company is fined by MSHA that money should go towards improving the safety and health of miners, rather than Washington."
Currently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) gives out competitively bid grants for coal mine safety research called the "Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants." The amount is usually under $1.5 million. The bill would increase the funding for the grants to no less than $10 million annually derived from fines that are collected by MSHA and add a component that calls for the study of black lung disease prevention and treatment.
"Black Lung Disease remains an issue for hundreds of current and retired miners in America, especially in my Southern Illinois District," said Rep. Enyart. "This legislation is an appropriate way to ensure the hard working men and women who mine America's coal are not forgotten. Their safety in the workplace and their health and well-being should always be the highest priorities. This legislation does that and I'm proud to support it."
"Coal miners are the reason why I fight each day for the future of coal," said Rep. McKinley. "They represent the human side of the equation. Miners are not simply numbers and statistics; they are our brothers, parents, grandparents and uncles. They may sit in front of you in church and stand behind you in the check-out line of the stores. Their economic future is tied to our success in Washington."