Aug. 21, 2017

Statement Regarding National Academies Study on Potential Health Risks of Living in Proximity to Surface Coal Mining Sites in Central Appalachia

WASHINGTON -- In an August 18 letter, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement informed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that it should cease all work on a study of the potential health risks for people living near surface coal mine sites in Central Appalachia. The letter states that the Department has begun an agency-wide review of its grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $100,000, largely as a result of the Department’s changing budget situation. 

The National Academies will go forward with previously scheduled meetings for this project in Kentucky on August 21-23 -- which are allowed to proceed according to the letter -- and encourages the public to attend open meetings in Hazard and Lexington on August 21 and 22. The National Academies believes this is an important study and we stand ready to resume it as soon as the Department of the Interior review is completed.  We are grateful to our committee members for their dedication to carrying forward with this study.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

Contacts:
William Kearney, Executive Director
Riya V. Anandwala, Media Relations Officer
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu
national-academies.org/newsroom
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