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Trump Interior Wants to Kill Coal Mountaintop Removal Study

The Trump administration told the National Academy of Sciences to stop studying possible public health risks for people living near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites in Appalachian, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Monday. The U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement said the move is part of an agency-wide review of grants and agreements in excess of $100,000. The study launched last year after the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the state Bureau for Public Health requested federal financial help to review studies that linked mountaintop removal to increased risks of birth defects, cancer, and premature death among Appalachia residents living near surface coal mines. “This is an important study and we stand ready to resume it as soon as the Department of Interior review is completed,” the academy said in a statement. “We are grateful to our committee members for their dedication to carrying forward with this study.”