Coal Age

OCT 2015

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Specifically, the proposal will give miners equal access to med- ical evidence as well as better access to legal resources. A dditionally, those who have filed claims and seen them denied b ecause of recently discovered discredited medical evidence will have a remedy with which to move forward. The act is the second collaboration for the three men; in July, they unveiled the Miners Protection Act to help ensure lifetime pensions and health benefits are honored for retired miners and their families. DOL, NIOSH Establish Black Lung QA Program The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), part of t he U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have teamed up for a quality assurance program that will help with the processing of pneumoconiosis (black lung) claims. The two inked a formal memorandum of understanding on September 24 outlining the initiative, which will evaluate black lung benefit claims in a more efficient manner. "In the past two years, the department has implemented several initiatives to improve the quality and timeli- ness of decisions on black lung claims," said OWCP Director L eonard Howie III. The interagency agreement will now provide a process to mon- itor and assess the quality of X-ray readings submitted to the DOL as part of the adjudication process, he said. David Weissman, director of NIOSH's Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, said the research group has a longstanding commitment to ensure pro- fessionalism, proficiency and objectivity among the physicians it certifies as "B readers" for X-ray processing in claims. "By formal- izing this agreement with OWCP, together we will establish a new m echanism to help ensure that chest X-ray readings used in black l ung benefits proceedings meet the highest standards," Weissman said. The program is one of several initiatives the DOL has advanced following issues raised by a recent inspector general review of the black lung claim adjudication process. Utah Mine Loses Lease for Noncompliance The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has canceled the lease for a Utah underground coal operation after the operation's owners v iolated the terms of the deal by not posting a required bond and let- ting royalty payments to the government go into arrears. According to local outlets, including the Salt Lake Tribune, the Hidden Splendor Horizon complex near Price is now being ordered to pay $230,929 in past-due royalties for the operation; the arrearage stems from a three-month period in 2012 at the rate of $8 per ton. Additionally, for five years, Hidden Splendor reportedly failed to forward rent payments to the BLM totaling $3 per acre. The a gency has since filed documents in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City against the now-shuttered mine. The room-and-pillar Horizon mine, which started production in 2006, was controlled by Hidden Splendor parent company America West Resources. According to case documentation, about 16 million tons of recoverable federal reserves in Carbon County remained on the lease. n e w s c o n t i n u e d October 2015 www.coalage.com 13 ■ 6X more CM systems operating in U.S. coal mines than any other manufacturer ■ Precise location of workers maximizes safety and productivity ■ Dynamic SharpZone TM technology - maximizes mine productivity - minimizes nuisance / false alarms sales@matrixteam.com MineOwl Mobile Machinery Low-Light Camera System LED lights housed in rugged XP housing Hi-res LCD monitor in rugged XP housing Mining Technology

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