BUDGET/INTERIOR: “The Interior Department has ordered a halt to a scientific study begun under President Obama of the public health risks of mountaintop-removal coal mining.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which was conducting the study, said in a statement Monday [8-21-17] that they were ordered to stop work because the Interior Department is conducting an agencywide budgetary review.
Last year, West Virginia officials asked the Obama administration to look into the health effects of mountaintop mining, a technique used to extract underlying coal.
As part of the practice, which dates to the 1960s, mining companies dump the rubble into the surrounding valleys and streams, in many cases leading to extensive pollution.
The National Academies assembled a 12-member expert committee to assess ‘new approaches to safeguard the health of residents’ living near the mines.
Environmental groups and Democrats sharply criticized the Interior Department decision.”

-Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, “Coal Mining Health Study Is Halted by Interior Department,” The New York Times online, Aug. 21, 2017