More than two years ago, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration proposed new rules to curb black lung disease among miners. MSHA officials acted after reports more miners are suffering from the dread malady, after several years in which it seemed progress was being made in fighting it.
Black lung is caused by inhaling coal dust, and the MSHA proposal was to reduce miners' exposure to it. But though MSHA has completed its work on the proposal, other federal agencies have yet to act on it.
Why the delay? Some agencies of government seem eager to devise and implement new regulations quickly. So why can't the black lung proposal be finalized?
Both the mining industry and the United Mine Workers of American have expressed some concern about the proposal. Clearly, however, more needs to be done to safeguard miners. Bureaucratic delays in doing that should not be tolerated.