Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) released the following statement concerning the ongoing controversy over healthcare and pension benefits surrounding the Patriot Coal bankruptcy proceedings:
"Over the past year, my staff and I have been working with United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) officials, miners, and retirees in an effort to protect healthcare and pension benefits for Patriot workers and retirees," said Rep. McKinley. "After hearing the stories of what these men and their families face if they lose their benefits, it's clear that we must find a solution."
"We are currently working on several solutions that will address the concerns over health care and pensions and will not be challenged in court," said McKinley. "Coal miners risk their lives every day so we can have affordable electricity, and we must do everything we can do protect their livelihood and the benefits they have earned through years of hard work."
"Tonight, I joined Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) in co-sponsoring legislation that will use existing coal revenues to help offset healthcare costs for the Patriot workers and retirees," said McKinley. "In the coming days, my office will introduce a separate bill that addresses both health care and pensions. We need to explore all possible avenues to fix this problem."
"As Patriot and the UMWA continue negotiations it is my hope they can come to an acceptable agreement," said McKinley. "However, we need to be ready with legislative solutions should it become necessary."