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Updated at 6:30 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed relaxing two Obama-era regulations on waste products from coal-fired power plants, a move environmental groups say would prolong the risk of toxic spills or drinking water contamination.

Robert Murray, founder and chairman of Cleveland-based Murray Energy Corp., arrives at a news conference at the entrance to the Crandall Canyon Mine, in northwest of Huntington, Utah, on August 20, 2007.
Jae C. Hong / AP

Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest producers of coal, has filed for bankruptcy. The Ohio-based coal mining company also announced that its high-profile CEO, Bob Murray, will be replaced.

Dozens of coal miners are expected on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, where they'll press federal regulators and members of Congress to address the epidemic of deadly progressive massive fibrosis, the advanced stage of black lung disease.

The entrance to FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Ron Schwane / Associated Press

Environmental advocates say the Senate’s new energy plan is taking Ohio in the wrong direction when it comes to emerging energy sources and innovations. That plan would likely bail out two nuclear power plants through new charges on electric bills.

In this file photo, a fixed coal stacker, left, unloads into a massive pile as a dozer works adjacent to the mountain of coal at the Hopedale Mine near Cadiz, Ohio.
Joe Maiorana / AP

An Ohio Senate decision to cut funding Republican Gov. Mike DeWine budgeted for reclaiming abandoned coal mining sites is expected to arise during budget compromise talks this week.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump has thrown his latest lifeline to the ailing coal industry, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama's key policies to address climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its Affordable Clean Energy rule on Wednesday. It's supported by the coal industry, but it is not clear that it will be enough to stop more coal-fired power plants from closing.

Jeff Ivers owns 43 acres of land in Perry County, surrounded by Perry State Forest. A mining company proposed building a 545-acre strip mine over the forest.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

“I water my horses out of this creek down here,” Jeff Ivers says, resting his hand on his horse’s nose.

He looks out over his land: 43 acres, surrounded on three sides by Perry State Forest, with a small creek running through it.

Erin Gottsacker

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources hosts a public meeting Tuesday evening for people concerned about a proposed surface coal mine in southeast Ohio’s Perry State Forest. The planned mine comes at a unique time for both the company behind it, and the state.

Thousands of coal miners are dying from an advanced form of black lung disease, and federal regulators could have prevented it if they had paid closer attention to their own data.

That's the conclusion of a joint NPR/Frontline investigation that aired last month and continues Tuesday night on PBS.

In another proposed reversal of an Obama-era standard, the Environmental Protection Agency Friday said limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is not cost-effective and should not be considered "appropriate and necessary."

The EPA says it is keeping the 2012 restrictions in place for now, in large part because utilities have already spent billions to comply with them. But environmental groups worry the move is a step toward repealing the limits and could make it harder to impose other regulations in the future.

Greg Kelly's grandson, Caden, scampers to the tree-shaded creek behind his grandfather's house to catch crawdads, as Kelly shuffles along, trying to keep up. Kelly's small day pack holds an oxygen tank with a clear tube clipped to his nose. He has chairs spaced out on the short route so he can stop every few minutes, sit down and catch his breath, until he has enough wind and strength to start out again for the creek.

At a Conesville coal plant, scrubbers work to prevent air pollution.
Erin Gottsacker / WOSU

Earlier this month, an Ohio mining company filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court. The move concerns some environmentalists.

The Trump's administration's proposal to relax regulations on carbon emissions is welcome news in coal producing states like Wyoming, even as people in the industry acknowledge its impact would be limited.

A new government report says that the federal black lung trust fund that helps sick and dying coal miners pay living and medical expenses could incur a $15 billion deficit in the next 30 years. That's if a congressionally mandated funding cut occurs as planned at the end of the year.

More coal miners in central Appalachia have suffered the advanced stages of the deadly disease black lung than previous government research has found, and more miners working in the region today have earlier stages of the disease.

Those are two of the findings in a bundle of studies released Tuesday and expected to be released soon, which focus on the epidemic of black lung disease first reported by NPR in 2016.

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