August 24, 2017 Read More →

Editorial: Ending Federal Study on Effects of Surface Mining Is a Move Meant to ‘Please the Coal Industry’

Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader:

There’s no good explanation, no budgetary or scientific reason for ending a federal study into the possible health effects of living near surface coal mining in Appalachia.

This study is well underway. The only reason the Trump administration would pull the plug now is to please the coal industry. And that reason is not good enough when so many people are waiting for answers.

The scientists who are delving into what’s known and not known come from across the country and from an impressive range of disciplines and backgrounds. They are working as volunteers under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

One industry argument against the study is that surface mining in Appalachia provides only a tiny fraction of the nation’s coal supply. That ignores the huge impact it has — during and after mining — on the people who live nearby. As Appalachia’s thin seams are mined, more rock has to be blasted away, which puts a new set of potentially harmful substances into the air and water.

It would be wasteful — the opposite of economical — to have spent this much time, money and effort without getting the final product, a report that many people are awaiting.

More: Health and strip mining? Study on

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