September 22, 2017 Read More →

Editorial: Trump’s ‘Breathtaking Hypocrisy’ Toward Coal Miners

Scientific American:

Now we see that his administration has put on hold a study of the connections between mountaintop coal mining and the health of nearby communities—research that was requested by West Virginia health authorities and is being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This action demonstrates the president’s disregard for the health of coal miners, their families and their friends.

I have a bit of experience in this area, as a former air pollution regulator. From 2002 to 2010, while a full-time faculty member at the University of Virginia, I was a member of the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board. Virginia is a longtime coal state, and the board confronted several controversial issues concerning coal-related air pollution.

Trump’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. He claims to support the interests of coal communities. But he is not interested in knowing about the health effects of coal mining on those who live nearby.

Residents of coal mining areas in Virginia and elsewhere have borne environmental and health burdens so that Americans could build prosperous lives based on electricity fueled by coal. Even as the U.S. reduces its reliance on coal and moves toward other sources of energy, an unstoppable trend that the Trump administration is trying to ignore, we should not forget what the people of Appalachia have given us.

A comprehensive health study is the least we can do, and that study should be just the start of generous economic and public health investments in these vulnerable areas.

More: Trump’s Breathtaking Hypocrisy on Coal Mining

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