WV groups hope study leads to end of mountaintop removal mining

LOGAN, WV (BY: KEN WARD JR., CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL)  — West Virginia environmental groups on Tuesday urged a National Academy of Sciences panel to look carefully at the public health impact of strip mining, saying they hope more scrutiny of the issue will lead to a ban on the practice.

“We have a serious health problem here,” said Vernon Haltom, executive director of the group Coal River Mountain Watch. “I hope we are going to end this process, not just kick it down the road.”

Haltom was among several panels of citizen group representatives, industry officials and state regulators who spoke to and took questions from the National Academy committee that is investigating a series of previously published studies that revealed coalfield residents living near mountaintop removal operations face increased risks of a variety of illnesses and premature death.

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