US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Praises New Protections for Coal Miners to Prevent Black Lung Disease

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement applauding a U.S. Department of Labor announcement of new protections for coal miners.

“Today is an historic day for America’s hardworking coal miners.  With these new protections, they will no longer have to go to work living in fear that they will one day get sick and suffer from black lung disease,” Harkin said. “From my own experience, I know how important this rule is to protect miners and their families. My father was a coal miner who suffered from black lung, and it was painful to watch him struggle with the disease.”

“Because there is no cure for black lung, it is imperative that we protect miners from developing the disease in the first place, which is exactly what this rule will do,” Harkin added. “I commend Secretary Perez and Assistant Secretary Main for all the work they do every day to protect the health and safety of miners.  With their leadership and these new protections, it is my hope that we can once and for all end this horrible disease that has already taken too many lives and devastated too many families.”

Harkin has long been a champion for stronger safety standards and protections for coal miners. As a co-sponsor of the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act of 2013, Harkin has been a strong voice in the call for the stronger mine safety and health reforms that would help to save lives and reduce the number of accidents at coal mines.

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