The National Academy of Sciences says it is pursuing private funding to complete a study of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining. As Jeff Young reports the Trump administration cited budget concerns when it ordered a halt to the study.
The National Academy of Sciences says it is pursuing private funding to complete a study of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.
National Academies spokesperson Riya Anandwala says there has been no further information on the budget review and the study has remained on hold since August.
“Given how important the study is to the citizens in the communities surrounding these surface mining sites in Appalachia, the National Academies believe the study should be completed and are exploring options to do so.”
The academies say private donors have expressed interest in paying to complete the study.
Coalfield residents have long expressed concerns about illnesses. A series of scientific studies have linked strip mining to a variety of health issues, including increased rates of cancer, lung disease and birth defects.
This week the Interior Department also halted a study on the safety of offshore oil and gas drilling.
Andrew Rosenberg with the Union of Concerned Scientists says it is extremely rare to stop studies that are already underway. He also notes that both canceled studies dealt with energy extraction.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that the various fossil fuel industries have very high level of influence with this administration. So again Department of Interior is saying, ‘we don’t want to study these problems because we don’t want to know the answer,” he says.
Rosenberg says while private money might complete the mining health study it’s important to have public funding for science in the public interests of health and safety.