Halt ordered on study of health threat from surface mines

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Federal mining regulators have told the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to halt their study of the health risks for people living near Appalachian surface coal mines.

The Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which announced last year it was funding the $1 million study, said in an Aug. 18 letter that the department has begun reviewing grants over $100,000 largely for budget reasons.

Spokesman William Kearney said on Monday the academies believe the study is important and stand ready to resume when the department review is completed. He says two public meetings scheduled this week in Kentucky will be held.

Results were expected next spring.

Some studies have linked living near mountaintop removal mines to greater risks of cancer, birth defects and premature death.

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