Howard Berkes http://wfae.org en The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen? http://wfae.org/post/turkish-mine-disaster-how-could-it-happen Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has enraged families of the victims of the Soma mine disaster by characterizing mining accidents as "ordinary things."<p>In fact, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/15/312694185/turkish-mine-explosion-angry-protests-as-death-toll-rises">the disaster</a> appears to have ordinary causes familiar to mining experts, who note that well-known precautions exist to prevent the kind of explosion that killed so many in Turkey.<p>"The risk is constant," says Tom Hethmon, a professor of mine safety at the University of Utah and a consultant to Thu, 15 May 2014 19:11:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 51004 at http://wfae.org The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen? Past Disasters Haunt Modern-Day Coal Mining Accidents http://wfae.org/post/past-disasters-haunt-modern-day-coal-mining-accidents More than 280 miners have died in Turkey with another 150 still missing. It's hard to imagine how so many can perish in a mine accident in modern times. Thu, 15 May 2014 09:15:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 50964 at http://wfae.org Regulators Couldn't Close U.S. Mine Despite Poor Safety Record http://wfae.org/post/regulators-couldnt-close-us-mine-despite-poor-safety-record The West Virginia mine where two workers were fatally injured on Monday consistently violated federal mine safety laws, but federal regulators say they were unable to shut it down completely.<p>The Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that two workers were killed on May 12 when coal and rocks burst from mine walls at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 mine in Boone County, W.Va.<p>MSHA says one victim was operating a mining machine and the other was drilling bolts into the roof of the mine, a process that prevents rockfalls. Wed, 14 May 2014 23:05:00 +0000 Howard Berkes & Anna Boiko-Weyrauch 50950 at http://wfae.org 2 Die In W.Va. Mine With Troubled Safety Record http://wfae.org/post/2-die-wva-mine-troubled-safety-record Two coal miners died in a mine accident in Boone County, W.Va., Monday night, in a mine with a troubled safety record.<p>The accident occurred at the Brody Mine No.1, which is owned by Patriot Coal. In a statement, the company says the deaths were caused by "a severe coal burst as the mine was conducting retreat mining operations."<p>A burst occurs when the downward pressure of the earth sitting above the mine forces coal or rock to shoot out from the rock walls.<p>"Retreat mining" is a dangerous practice that follows the completion of mining of the main coal seam. Tue, 13 May 2014 21:27:00 +0000 Howard Berkes & Anna Boiko-Weyrauch 50877 at http://wfae.org Mine Dust Rules Could Slow Production, Coal Mining Companies Say http://wfae.org/post/mine-dust-rules-could-slow-production-coal-mining-companies-say Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>The Labor Department has announced new rules to protect coalminers from black lung. Regulations were supposed to eradicate black lung decades ago. Yet when I went to college in Eastern Kentucky's coal mining region, some of my fellow students had fathers who'd been killed by it. Black lung is blamed for 76,000 deaths over 50 years.<p>NPR's Howard Berkes reports how the rules are changing now.<p>HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: Black lung is a catch-all phrase for diseases that can make a lung look like a shriveled and burned paper bag. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 49601 at http://wfae.org U.S. Olympic Committee Plans To Examine Speedskating's Woes http://wfae.org/post/us-olympic-committee-plans-examine-speedskatings-woes For American speedskaters, this Winter Olympics has been defined by controversy over racing suits and disappointment over a lack of podium finishes. Now comes word that the U.S. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:53:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 45323 at http://wfae.org U.S. Olympic Committee Plans To Examine Speedskating's Woes More Blame Congress Than Obama For Park Woes During Shutdown http://wfae.org/post/more-blame-congress-obama-park-woes-during-shutdown It may seem like a distant memory, but the images are indelible: grizzled veterans <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/13/233334336/barriers-breached-at-world-war-ii-memorial-on-mall">tearing down barricades</a> at the National World War II Memorial; armed rangers <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/03/228719015/national-parks-close-as-other-public-lands-stay-open">blocking national park entrance roads</a> with massive signs and government SUVs; and county officials in Utah <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/09/231086726/county-in-utah-threatens-takeover-of-n Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:30:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 39468 at http://wfae.org More Blame Congress Than Obama For Park Woes During Shutdown 2 Summer Olympic Cities Are Chasing The 2022 Winter Games http://wfae.org/post/2-summer-olympic-cities-are-chasing-2022-winter-games With the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/10/29/241642365/100-days-to-the-sochi-olympics-some-key-things-to-know">upcoming Winter Olympics</a> set in a subtropical, palm tree-lined resort city on Russia's Black Sea, it's no surprise that two former Summer Olympics hosts are now seeking the 2022 Winter Games.<p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/156368611/chinas-post-olympic-woe-how-to-fill-an-empty-nest">Beijing</a>, host of the 2008 Summer Games, must miss the Olympic glow — or polluting murky mist, as it turned out to be, given its formal bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 19:00:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 39347 at http://wfae.org 2 Summer Olympic Cities Are Chasing The 2022 Winter Games House Lawmakers Seek Federal Probe Of Black Lung Program http://wfae.org/post/house-lawmakers-seek-federal-probe-black-lung-program Two Democratic congressmen have <a href="http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/documents/Miller%20and%20Courtney%20Letter%20to%20Labor%20OIG%20RE%20Black%20Lung.pdf">formally asked the Labor Department's Inspector General</a> to investigate "allegations of misconduct by doctors and lawyers working on behalf of the coal industry" and their roles in the denials of benefits for coal miners stricken with black lung disease.<p>In their letter, Rep. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:14:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 38888 at http://wfae.org Johns Hopkins Halts, Reviews Black Lung Program http://wfae.org/post/johns-hopkins-halts-reviews-black-lung-program <a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/abc_news_report_b-reads_pneumoconiosis_statement.html">Johns Hopkins Medicine</a> says it will suspend and review its black lung program, following joint investigative reports last week from the <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/environment/breathless-and-burdened">Center for Public Integrity</a> and <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/investigation-johns-hopkins-tough-questions-black-lung-money/story?id=20721430">ABC News</a> that found the program "helped coal companies thwart efforts by ailing mine workers to receive disability benefits. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 19:32:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 38574 at http://wfae.org