West Virginia To Review Mining-Health Research

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration will review studies linking mountaintop removal mining with health problems in nearby communities.

State health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta tells The Charleston Gazette that the Bureau for Public Health and Department of Environmental Protection will evaluate the research.

Gupta says the state will coordinate with federal scientific and regulatory agencies. He also wants to work alongside other coal-producing states, like Virginia and Kentucky.

West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney questioned the need for the review.

Environmental groups have argued the mining method defaces the landscape and sends toxic substances into waterways, endangering human health.

Tomblin told The Associated Press Tuesday that “if there’s enough scientific evidence that something needs to be changed,” then he’s sure DEP Secretary Randy Huffman will give him recommendations.