Letter to the Editor: Electric Cooperative Puts Plans for Coal Plant On Ice

Electric Cooperative Puts Plans for Coal Plant On Ice

Clean energy groups and co-op members rejoice but vow to stay vigilant

On behalf of thousands of Virginians who opposed plans for what would have been one of the state’s biggest polluting power plants, the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition and local electric cooperative members today celebrated the news that Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) is suspending plans for its proposed coal plant in Hampton Roads. Local utilities Rappahannock and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperatives (REC and SVEC) jointly own ODEC with 9 other regional co-ops. The news came just days before REC’s annual meeting, held Saturday in Bealeton.

Coalition member groups said they hope to work with ODEC to implement programs and projects that provide cleaner, more affordable and climate-friendly sources of energy for its customers, but pledged to keep a close eye on the utility to ensure it does not revive the coal plant idea in the future.

ODEC sent an email newsletter to its “Friends of Cypress Creek” listserve this week saying it is suspending permitting activity for the 1,500-megawatt, $6 billion plant it proposed to build in Surry County, where residents have fought fiercely over the past several years to stop the proposal.  Company executives had hinted at this decision in recent months, but this is ODEC’s first public statement clarifying the status of the controversial proposal.

The coal industry has been declining in recent months due largely to market forces, driving up costs and compelling utilities around the country to look to a variety of other sources to generate electricity.  ODEC, in its email newsletter, acknowledged that changing energy markets contributed to its decision, but also blamed environmental regulations.  The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition credits the outcome in large part to years of mounting pressure from citizens in Surry County and Hampton Roads, and from ODEC cooperatives’ own customer-owners, combined with recent changes in the energy market.

Members of REC and SVEC have worked to educate their communities and urge the co-ops’ decision-makers to oppose the coal plant and invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency instead. In addition, more than 8,000 people across Virginia had signed a petition against the coal plant, which will be delivered to the Corps of Engineers later this month. Five local governments, all downwind from the proposed plant, had passed resolutions of concern or in opposition to the plant.

The coalition has outstanding requests under the Freedom of Information Act to the federal agency, which was conducting a requisite environmental study on the coal plant.

Comments from coal-plant opponents follow:

“The disruptive weather and extreme heat that caused widespread power outages and discomfort for REC members this summer make it clear that electric cooperatives can no longer continue with business as usual,” said Seth Heald, an REC member in Culpeper County. “I commend REC and its power supplier, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, for suspending their plan to build a huge new coal-fired power plant. We have to move beyond carbon-intensive coal as a power source.”

“The suspension of plans for this plant, which would belch as much carbon dioxide as about 2 million cars, is a great sign for the fight against climate change. We look forward to seeing ODEC move away from fossil fuels and toward a future powered by wind and solar energy,” said Beth Kemler, Virginia state director with Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

“ODEC is doing the right thing. People are concerned about committing to 50 years or more of burning coal. Even though ODEC said it would build the cleanest coal plant east of the Mississippi, it still would have been one of the largest polluters in Virginia. There’s no way around it – coal is a dirty and costly proposition, from mountaintop removal coal mining to burning it to dumping the ash. We can do better,” said Mike McCoy, Virginia campaign coordinator for Appalachian Voices.

“Delaying the Surry County coal plant is a step in the right direction, but ODEC really needs to move away from fossil fuels, investing in efficiency, wind and solar power now,” said Glen Besa, director of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.

“A new peer-reviewed study now links summertime weather extremes to global warming.  Given that, ODEC’s decision to suspend the coal plant and pursue other alternatives is great news and a breath of fresh air for families throughout Hampton Roads,” said Cale Jaffe, senior attorney with Southern Environmental Law Center.

“We need to move to clean energy solutions. The fact that the proposed Surry coal-fired power plant is now on ice is a good start, but it is only the beginning if we are serious about what really needs to happen,” said Laura Miller of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards.

The Wise Energy Coalition worked with many groups on the issue, including Chesapeake Bay Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, and Lynnhaven River Now.  A full list of the governments and organizations opposed to the coal plant is below.


  • Norfolk
  • The Town of Surry in Surry County
  • Isle of Wight County
  • Southampton County
  • (Williamsburg and Virginia Beach have publicly expressed concern)

Health organizations

  • CINCH (Consortium for Infant and Child Health at EVMS in Norfolk)
  • American Lung Association
  • Virginia Asthma Coalition
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility

Conservation organizations

  • Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • National Parks Conservation Association
  • Hampton Roads Bird Club
  • Williamsburg Climate Action Network
  • Cape Henry Audubon Society (Norfolk)
  • Virginia Native Plant Society
  • Lynnhaven River Now
  • Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper

Citizen’s groups/political groups

  • Coalition to Keep Surry Clean
  • Garden Club of Virginia
  • Isle of Wight Citizen’s Association
  • Carrolton Civic League (In Isle of Wight)
  • James City County Citizen’s Coalition
Beth Kemler
Virginia State Director
Chesapeake Climate Action Network


  1. just the facts..PLEASE says:

    this is only good news if you live in la la land and like HIGH energy costs

    • Or if you work in the coal industry or live in the surrounding areas. The negatives far out weigh the positives where coal is concerned. It is a dirty industry, not only in the literal sense.

  2. Big Virginian says:

    Here we go again. Higher energy cost and lost jobs because of an environmentalist hoax on man-made global warming and big government over regualtion. No coal, No nukes, no gas… what is left? Unproven solar and wind power. The flat Earthers are taking us back to the stone age, where they want us.

    • There is climate change now. If people keep arguing whether it’s man made or not, nothing will get done. Using coal surely does not help the situation. It’s filthy dirty.

      • What about natural gas? It’s plentiful, inexpensive at the present and very clean in comparison to coal. The only people expanding coal use are the nations that are where we were in the 1800s in relation to industrialization. Maybe we could bring back black smithing and steam engines too. This shouldn’t be a political issue. Seems like common sense to me.

        • ElinorDashwood says:

          Read up on ‘fracking natural gas’. Natural gas is plentiful but the modern process used to extract it is highly questionable. Most states that use hydrofracking don’t require the companies to disclose what chemicals they use to ‘frack’ natural gas and the companies don’t have to tell you if they are drilling under your property because they can drill at a 35 degree angle from a property line.

          • The Virginia Department of Health will hold a meeting Wednesday night in Warrenton to gather public input on the issues of water supply and recreational water to assess the impact of uranium mining and milling in Virginia. The meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in The Barn at Lord Fairfax Community College, Warrenton.
            Fracking: The intense debate comes to George Washington National Forest.

      • just the facts..PLEASE says:

        Remember when “Climate Change” was called “Global Warming”??? Then we had a couple of cooler than normal years and the “chicken little movement” changed its name. Don’t get me wrong…..I agree that the climate is changing…..it has been changing for millions of years. You want to see REAL climate change?…..wait until we have the next major volcanic event !!

        If these people really want to address the greenhouse gas producers why don’t they just go hold hands and sing KUM BA YA in front of the Chinese and Indian embassy….how about boycotting their products instead of trying to punish average Americans

  3. Well gee Beth, what’s going to take this proposed plant’s place? What’s going to charge all the Hopey Changey cars that run on batteries? Solar panels? Wind Farms? While I support the efforts to develope alternate energy, the fact of the matter is that no form of Hopey Changey energy can replace the forms that we use now.

    Please forward me your address so that I may send your organization the difference in my next monthly electric bill when it invaribly goes up

    • Mr Mister says:

      This totally proves the GOP is so phoney about the future of our children and grandchildren. What about their health from pollution?
      I grew up in Pittsburgh and relied on coal for more than just electric. There is nothing wrong with having and wanting clean energy. It’s called progression. Before the light bulb, we were reading by candle light. I bet when the early Americans were cooking their meat with a stck and fire pit they never thought of a microwave. And with out the internet, where would you carry the water?

    • A typical response from a typical right winger. Ever work in the coal industry Sarge? Ever visited the communities where coal is mined? There is no such thing as “clean” coal. You may save a few $ on your monthly bill at the suffering of thousands of workers, families of workers, destruction to the environment etc. If you think it is the answer then get out of your cubical and get down in the mine for a little while. Then talk to us.

      • “Ever visited the communities where coal is mined?”

        My step dad came from the coal counties of West Virginia. But thank you for acknowledging that there are indeed coal “communities”. Wonder why? Why don’t those folks just move away and stop mining coal if it’s so bad?

        Again, the fact of the matter is that there isn’t any kind of Hopey Changey energy that can take coals place. No flux capacitors that run on banana peels. If the government or groups like this one keeps shutting down coal plants, there will be less energy being produced. Less energy and higher demand produces higher prices.

        And here’s the other side of the story, where the Town Council had already approved the plant. Imagine that.


        And this comment in the article was telling as well

        Federal and state regulations limit the level of Mercury: NR 446.03 Mercury emission limits. (1) No person may cause, allow or permit emissions of mercury in such quantity
        and duration as to cause the ambient air concentration to exceed
        1 ug/m3, averaged over a 30−day period.

        That is less than you get in a closed room with a broken CFL bulb. Please note that I found it hard to find actual numbers as even the EPA hides behind “estimates of people saved” and other rubbish based on worst case scenarios. Example: 8% of women have mercury levels that MAY effect their offsprings development.
        First it does not say the cause of exposure, second it doesn’t say what level that is because ANY level of mercury is ASSUMED to have an influence.

        Man made global warming nuts aren’t going to be happy until we’re all sitting around a (small) campfire roasting our tofu.

        Can’t have marshmellows because Michelle Obama and the government says they are bad.
        Can’t roast meat because that’s bad for you as well, according to the government.
        Can’t have too big a fire because government ninnies say that warms the planet.

        Enough already

        • I’m not talking about any hopey changey. Wow, you made up a new play on that. Great job. Now stop using it. It’s already getting old. I’m talking about the destruction to the health of the miners, the destruction to the environment, (rivers, forests, ground water, etc. etc. etc.) What is good about mountaintop mining? At what point will people like your step dad suffer and die from coal related illnesses?

          I’m all for drilling for oil and gas in a responsible way, so don’t label me as some alternative energy only advocate. Sarge, wake up.

          • I’m wide awake. The killing of this plant WILL lead to higher electricity prices in the area. You cannot have decreased energy output and increased consumption and still have lower prices. And I will refer you to an article here not too long ago where REC already said they were looking at a 30% increase. This will only add to the increase


            And as long as there are people willing to mine coal, or it can be mined automatically for the same price, coal remains the go to energy source of the country.

            Again, if it’s so bad to mine, why do people do it?

          • Simple…because some tycoon/CEO somewhere wants to go get the stuff and make money with as little cost (in environmental protections, etc.) to detract from his profit margins. It’s mined because of history – “Hmmm…folks have mined coal for centuries, why change now?”

            But, just because it’s abundant (for now), does that outweigh environmental concerns? Look at some of those communities in Appalachia where table-top mining has wiped out the local ecosystems with the slag and runoff and all; where black lung and other chronic ailments impact a significant chunk of the population; where the emissions are very real, and very damaging to the air we (even you) breathe and the water we drink.

            Hands have been wrung repeatedly for 35+ years for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. Yet, obstructionists would rather chase cheap profits in the short term instead of truly making investments in the future energy forms we need. There has to be a balance point.

          • “Yet, obstructionists would rather chase cheap profits in the short term instead of truly making investments in the future energy forms we need.”



            BP (BP) has invested $7 billion in alternative energy since 2005. ExxonMobil (XOM) is spending $600 million on a 10-year effort to turn algae into oil. And Royal Dutch Shell (RDS/A) has invested billions of dollars in a Brazilian biofuels venture, buying up sugar cane mills, plantations, and refineries to make ethanol. In the U.S., Shell produces small lots of so-called drop-in biofuels—engine-ready products that can replace gasoline—from a pilot plant in Houston that uses sugar beets and crop waste.

        • It’s called Climate change, Sarge, and you know this. As noted before, if you sit around your campfire debating if it’s caused by humans or not, nothing will get done.

          Marshmallows are not outlawed; meat is not outlawed, and as far as I know campfires aren’t outlawed unless there is a wildfire alert. You know this as well, so stop with your politics of fear.

          I don’t care for Tofu, but I do understand it is an inexpensive source of healthy protein. What’s the issue there?

          • And what do you propose we do? Shut down all out means of energy production? Artic ice core drillings have shown conclusively that global warming has been going on for eons. Whether it is man made or not, there’s not one thing on earth we can do to change it. Best we can do is adapt

          • Incorrect, Sarge. We CAN manage the part of it that we ARE responsible for way better than we have. Yes, global warmups and cooldowns are cyclical – but human effects ARE documented and can be seen to be speeding up these changes.

            If we can take steps to mitigate those impacts for which we are guilty, why is it a bad thing to do so? We were directed to be good stewards of this Earth and all its resources; that doesn’t mean we just treat it will-nilly, use it, abuse it, and merely “adapt” to a different world without lifting a finger.

          • “We CAN manage the part of it that we ARE responsible for way better than we have’

            Tom, we have some of the strongest environmental laws on the planet. That, unfortunately, are counter balanced by China and India, who have no environmental laws at all.

            And please provide links to the “documented” man made global warming

      • Another View says:

        “[S]uffering”? You want to see “suffering”? Then put all those coal miners and support workers on unemployment. Take away their means of providing their families a living. Let them lose their homes. Make them wards of the State. That’s “suffering”?

        Want more “suffering”? Shut down America’s electrical plants, which run largely on coal, because God blessed America with an abundance of coal, which is the cheapest, most reliable source to power our electric plants. See how the hospitals, businesses and homes function without coal powered electricity. See how high electric bills soar for those with electricity, not powered by coal. There’s some more “suffering” for you.

        The fact is, America’s coal miners are vital and are heroes in their industry. They are not victims, and it is disgraceful for you to treat them as such.

        Why don’t you just sit in the dark and celebrate wind power on a still day? Perhaps you like “suffering”; most all of us do not.

        • You are so uneducated about the destructiveness of coal mining it’s unbelievable. Do you know what black lung is? It never went away smart guy. What good is having a job if it’s killing you and leaving your family to struggle?

          • Another View says:

            I am a smart guy; smart enough to know that there is risk in life, and that there is nothing that is risk free. I also know that all the coal miners are well aware of all the dangers associated with their profession, yet they choose to do it, and we are all better for it.

            Better to have a job that’s “killing you” than living off the government dole.

          • Why yes you did say it! “Better to have a job that’s “killing you” than living off the government dole.”

            But you do not like health care reform taking care of these people?

  4. My 2 Cents says:

    My bills were fine until REC took over, then KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crazy 600.00 bills and lights flickering all the time….

  5. PineGrover says:

    Fine – put in a nuke plant – meets both sides requirements. Oh wait. NOTHING meets that – but who’s the first to whine when there’s no power or costs go up? Of course if things continue as they have the last 3 1/2 years the few tax payers left will be paying everyone elses’ energy costs. This nonsense has to stop. Build it – if something better EVER comes along – close it down. You can’t have uncontrolled growth with no infrastructure – but according to some that’s the fault of the GOP in the House. Amazing.

  6. Roscoe Evans says:

    I recall visits of the ice man, the milk man, the coal carrier, and various other guys to my Grandfather’s house when I was a tyke.

    I’d welcome them all back, but the coal carrier was “fun” only for a kid. Coal delivery was filthy, and coal heating was dirty. Nobody who experienced coal in their home would prefer it as a personal energy source: we want it for our society now only because the filth is out of sight and out of mind. But it still pollutes, sickens and kills.

    Until the basic laws of physics and chemistry change, coal always will be a major pollutant. My hope is that some young Tom Edison will find a way to liquify it for fuel oil, gas, etc.; but that will won’t be happening until desalinization is cheap, too.

    Coal mining is a dangerous job, and even with rising wages, its a system that exploits labor. Slavery and environmental destruction as American values belong in history’s trash heap.

    • Another View says:

      I am so happy that we could work slavery into the mix. Coal mining is a “system that exploits labor”? How is that? Are coal companies not paying coal miners for their labors? Are coal miners slaves to their jobs? Is there no freedom to leave coal mining and pursue something else?

      Unbelievable. Men go into the mine, V O L U N T A R I L Y, and do work of great importance to our economy. They understand the risks, and yet they do the work.

      The responsibility of some folks, however, is to seek to put these brave men out of work, because apparently it is more compassionate to make them “slaves” to the government welfare system than to permit them to earn a living.

      And others see them as exploited, because why, exactly? Because they are not “slaves” to the government welfare system? Because they have the freedom to choose to work in a coal mine, and exercise that choice? Because you would not choose such a life, you cannot imagine that someone might make that choice?

  7. Roscoe Evans says:

    No, I’m not talking about race-based slavery by hypodescent, as practiced by our esteemed forebears, you literalist.

    I’m talking about the systemmatic indenture and exploitation of generations of families from Poland and Slovenia and fom the rest of eastern Europe by mine owners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia; much like the exploitation of the Chinese and the Irish by the builders of our continental railroads. Not a proud history.

    What we now have are guys who mine because they don’t know any other way to make the money they need to support their families; and guys like you who reject public education as “unconstitutional,” leaving these guys, or so you say, with no choices other than mining or the government dole.

    I believe in public education, to give the entire populace a full range of employment possibilities: you don’t.

    As for the merits of this argument: the energy value and the environmental costs of mining, transporting, cleaning, and burning coal: you can dig it yourself, and you can burn it in your own home. I’ll be pleased to have a federal government policy on the production of clean energy for us all. There’s plenty of it out there to exploit in an environmentally reasonable manner.

    Don’t get your hopes up for more back and forth. Nobody wants it, and I’m not keen on associating with a seditionist who claims the U.S. was founded solely by his own white English co-religionists.

    • Another View says:

      “I’m talking about the systemmatic indenture and exploitation of generations of families from Poland and Slovenia and fom the rest of eastern Europe by mine owners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia; much like the exploitation of the Chinese and the Irish by the builders of our continental railroads. Not a proud history.”

      YOU MAY NOT find this to be a “proud history”, but the fact is that these jobs gave immigrants opportunities to come here, establish themselves, and provide a better life for their children. And there is no exploitation; folks are free to come and go from employment as they wish. That they may not wish to, or as you put it, they “don’t know” better, does not make the employers evil. AND IT IS A VERY PROUD HISTORY.

      “What we now have are guys who mine because they don’t know any other way to make the money they need to support their families; and guys like you who reject public education as “unconstitutional,” leaving these guys, or so you say, with no choices other than mining or the government dole.

      I believe in public education, to give the entire populace a full range of employment possibilities: you don’t.”

      I HAVE NEVER CALLED “public education” unconstitutional; rather I have called public education a bad idea, and federal involvement to be unconstitutional. But really, does it matter, since there is public education? And despite this “public education to give the entire populace a full range of employment possibilities”, there are still folks who choose to mine coal. How do you explain that?

      “I’ll be pleased to have a federal government policy on the production of clean energy for us all. There’s plenty of it out there to exploit in an environmentally reasonable manner.”

      THIS IS UNQUESTIONABLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It is not the federal government’s role to centrally plan all or part of our economy. This is not the Soviet Union (which I realize pains you).

      “. . . the U.S. was founded solely by his own white English co-religionists.” It was. If you read the records of the Continental Congress or the Constitutional Constitution, you will find it populated solely by WASP men. No “African Americans”, no women, no “Native Americans”, no hyphenated Americans of any type. Again, this must pain you greatly, but it is a matter of fact.

  8. Roscoe Evans says:

    Everything you say is filtered through your narrow, personal “constitutional” framework and your narrow, personal familial history, as is everything, unfortunately, that you read.

    Your claim that you are a jurist of some sort is belied by your refusal to accept controlling case law. Nothing you say respecting the law is credible, for that reason alone. Go ahead. Waive your 1789 Constitution at a judge, and tell him “Cause I say it says so.”

    Your claim that your people were the first who came here, and that they did so to pursue religious freedom, is bunk.

    There were Spanish and French and Swedes and Dutch, not to mention the aboriginees that you so dismiss, and Blacks, here, well before your folks. But you persist in the delusion that your people were the first and best Americans. Nonsense.

    Go back, and read: I said nothing about the federal government creating a central plan for any part of our economy. I am for policies that promote more, cleaner energy. We have plenty of resources, and plenty of businesses, to compete for it. So stop setting up your own straw man, and making believe it’s mine, just to dismiss it.

    I said nothing about the continental congress or the constitutional congress, or even that period of time,either. So stop setting up your own straw man, and making believe it’s mine, just to dismiss it. I was talking about the folks who came to this land before your folks showed up. And the fact that your folks showed up just to make a quick buck.

    On the issue of coal fired power plants: they are dinosaurs because they pollute so badly. And they will remain dinosaurs untill technology is developed that reduces their pollution. Heck, we have had States sue other States because the pollution from coal fired power plants respects no State’s borders.

    When coal becomes as clean as oil or gas or whatever else it can compete with on a cost effective basis, I’ll be just fine with it. But I’m against ripping our land apart, and polluting our air, and debasing our rivers and streams, for an energy source that’s just cheap enough to sicken and cripple and kill the people who work with it and that also impairs and destroys the hearts and the lungs of the unhealthy among us.

    Of course, if your God gave us all this coal just to kill us slowly, fine, go for it. But that’s a religion I don’t believe in.

    • Another View says:

      1. We were not discussing the law, but I thank you for the insults. Coming from someone who refuses to identify where he practiced, and claims such great experience, but is an admitted liar, well . . . .

      2. When you discuss having government policies to promote, you are for central planning. That is what the LEFT loves, to direct the little people to do their bidding. That is what Barack Hussein Obama’s energy “policy” is all about, picking winners and losers, and directing individuals to do the government’s bidding. It is the Sovietization of America.

      3. You made a crack about who established the United States. The United States is a country. It was not established by the “Spanish and French and Swedes and Dutch, not to mention the aboriginees that you so dismiss, and Blacks”. It was established by White Anglo Saxon Protestant men. The horrors! AND, the first “Blacks” were not introduced into this country until 1619, at Jamestown. That would be 12 years after Captain John Smith and the establishment of the Virginia colony. EVERY young student in the Commonwealth learns this, EVEN IN PUBLIC SCHOOL! Or at least, they are supposed to, who knows nowadays.

      4. Coal is good. Coal is light. Coal is prosperity. Coal means jobs; indeed, jobs for folks you CLAIM to care about. If you do not like coal, turn over your lights. Strike a match. Use a candle.

      Do what you want to do. Support yourself. Read more. Become educated. Tell the truth. Be a REAL American.

      • Just like Romney said. “you can’t drive around with a windmill on top of your car”. Don’t you hate it when Willard & Co talks to people like they have an IQ of 70. He got a big round of applause on that line. You do know he’s talking to you. Coal isn’t good. Clean Coal Technology–biggest lie since “god don’t make no junk”.

        • So, tell us what takes the place of coal.

          See, that’s the problem with Obama and the envroweenies. They are all about “alternative” energy, which is fine, but have no “alternative”. And yet they still want to shut down power companies and coal plants, somehow thinking that if we starve ourselves of energy in it’s current form that some kind of replacement is just going to magically appear on the scene.

          Bass ackwards thinking.

          • How the heck should I know—wind/ solar/ battery tech.development/ clean coal research/ emissions scrubbers/ geothermal/ wave/tide motion? I don’t recall asking you to solve our energy problems, but sucking it/digging it out of the ground till it’s gone isn’t the solution.

            Looks to me like ODEC changed it’s plans based on the will of the people. I have my suspicions it has more to do with the price/abundance of natural gas. Maybe you think the Feds should step in and shut down the opposition? You know, for national security. Just this once.

            Black Lung disease is increasing. You’d think after all this time they could build proper ventilation/dust control systems. cost is a lame excuse. The whole industry stinks from the top down.

          • Another View says:

            We should mine coal. We should drill and frack for oil and natural gas, on shore and off shore. We should use God’s resources to improve our lot in life.

            It makes no sense whatsoever to be going backwards as we seem to be doing under Barack Hussein Obama. What happened to “Forward”?

          • No matter the health risks eh? Killing people is not moving forward. But, you already know that.

          • Another View says:

            How many people will die if the lights go out, if hospitals cannot function, if refrigeration and air conditioning go out, if gas pumps don’t work, etc.?

            There is risk associated with life. People die, driving cars, boating, exercising, eating, watching television, and working, in jobs which are and are not, inherently dangerous. You cannot wrap yourself in bubble wrap and stay safe.

  9. Black Lung Disease and being on “The Dole”

    In 2010, President Obama signed the Health Care Reform Bill, parts of which reinstated provisions for black lung disability payments. For claims filed after 2004, coal miners who cannot work as a result of respiratory impairment will receive total disability benefits if they worked 15 years of more in or around coal mines, and, if their employer cannot prove the disability was caused by something other than black lung disease. Previously, the miner had to prove disability and survivors had to demonstrate black lung disease caused, contributed, or hastened the miner’s death. Now, continuation of benefits is automatic if the miner received benefits before his death.