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  • A new study has found inequities in the delivery of federal benefits for Indigenous coal miners in the western U.S. who are suffering from black lung disease. It's helping to shine a light on an under-researched subject.
  • On Friday, a home health care company held an informational meeting in Tuba City, Arizona, on the federal benefits available to some Navajo coal miners who have black lung disease. The meeting, hosted by Positive Nature Homecare, was the latest on the subject of black lung among coal miners on the Navajo Nation. Willa Mae Jones is a member of the Navajo Nation and a health outreach worker at Canyonlands Healthcare in Chilchinbeto. She attended Friday’s meeting to meet with coal miners who largely worked at the Kayenta and Black Mesa mines in northeastern Arizona. Jones says her husband was a dragline operator at the Kayenta coal mine. When her son was growing up, she says she advised him not to follow in his father’s footsteps. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants for people that experienced discrimination in the agency’s farm loan programs.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor held an outreach event in Shiprock, New Mexico on the benefits available to some coal and uranium miners on the Navajo Nation. Current and former uranium miners attended the meeting to get more information about accessing benefits through the Energy Workers Program. Coal miners went to the meeting to learn more about their eligibility for federal black lung benefits. Justin Tsosie, a former coal miner and union representative who worked at the Kayenta surface Mine in Arizona, says he frequently encountered dust when he worked as a serviceman at the mine. And the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said on Tuesday that a resident of Montezuma County has tested positive for the plague.
  • On Friday of last week, a community meeting was held on black lung disease among retired Navajo coal miners in Farmington, New Mexico. The meeting was hosted by Positive Nature Homecare, a home healthcare company which primarily assists uranium miners. Laurence Bekise is a former coal miner who worked at the San Juan and Navajo mines for decades. He says he hopes he doesn’t have black lung from exposure to coal dust in the mines, but that he isn’t sure. And Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is urging the federal government to keep a close eye on artificial intelligence.
  • The Kayenta Mine, a surface coal mine which closed down in 2019, was operated by the coal company Peabody Energy. Now, retired coal miners across the Navajo Nation, including some who worked at the Kayenta Mine, are suffering from black lung disease and other health problems as a result of exposure to coal mine dust. In the second installment of a series on black lung among Navajo miners, former miner Alex Osif took KSJD on a driving tour of the mine in northeastern Arizona.
  • A pulmonologist at Miners’ Colfax Medical Center in New Mexico says there’s a statewide shortage of health professionals who are involved in the care of coal miners, especially those who have black lung disease. According to Dr. Akshay Sood, the Miners’ Colfax Medical Center Endowed Chair at the University of New Mexico, he is the state’s only Department of Labor 413(b) physician. That means he’s the only one authorized to evaluate whether or not coal miners in New Mexico are disabled enough by black lung disease to pass those findings on to a claims examiner, so they have a chance to get compensation.
  • In Upper Fruitland, New Mexico, an informational meeting was held on federal benefits available to some miners who have black lung disease. They say coal companies have mistreated them for decades.
  • An informational meeting was held on Friday in Upper Fruitland, New Mexico, on the federal benefits available to retired Navajo miners who have black lung disease. Some of the miners suspect they have black lung from their time working at coal mines like the Navajo Mine in San Juan County. Alex Osif, who is Navajo, Hopi, Pima, and a former miner and black lung benefits counselor, says that miners have been mistreated by coal companies for decades. And several bills dealing with substance use are on the agenda at the state Capitol this week.
  • Canyonlands Healthcare in Page, Arizona says that they’re finding more and more patients who have health issues related to working in coal mines throughout the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas. Michelle Carter, a nurse who leads the black lung clinic program at Canyonlands, says that based on miners they’ve screened in the last year, around 12% have the potential to have black lung disease. And state lawmakers are moving forward with a bipartisan bill that would boost funding for special education.
  • On the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas, health professionals from National Jewish Health are working with local hospitals and clinics to test retired coal miners for black lung disease. Cecile Rose, a pulmonologist and environmental medicine physician at National Jewish Health, says that black lung, otherwise known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, is present among retired miners living in towns like Page, Arizona, and Montrose, Colorado. And three bills expanding and protecting access to reproductive healthcare got final approval from the state Senate Wednesday. One would shield out-of-state patients seeking abortions or gender-affirming care in Colorado.