The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced it will fund a million dollar review of current research on links between surface coal mining and human health risks. The announcement came more than a year after the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection formally requested the review.
Over the last decade, more than two-dozen peer-reviewed studies have found correlations between mountaintop removal coal mining and increased rates of cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, and other negative health outcomes.
More recent studies, including several from West Virginia University, have found more direct links to lung tumors and cardiac dysfunction.
Four public meetings about the review are scheduled to be held by the National Academy of Sciences. The dates have not yet been announced.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.