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OSMRE announces opencast mining study

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World Coal,

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is to fund an independent examination of existing research regarding the potential health risks related to opencast coal mining in Central Appalachia. The US$1 million study is to be undertaken at the request of the state of West Virginia and conducted by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

“This kind of project represents the best of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act,” said ASMRE Director Joe Pizarchik. “West Virginia asked us in the federal government for help. We wanted to do the best we could for the people, so we brought the NAS on board because they are one the world’s most reputable scientific organisations.”

Under the agreement between the OSMRE and the NAS, the academy will independently choose a committee of twelve subject matter exports to example a growing amount of research that relates to possible correlations between increased health risks and living near opencast mine operations.

There were also calls from some to halt permitting for opencast mining in Central Appalachia until the review was complete: “If we value the lives of Central Appalachian citizens over coal profits, mine permitting would be halted until it could be proven safe for nearby residents,” said Erin Savage, Central Appalachian Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices.

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