Runoff from a mountaintop removal site in Kentucky. Photo: FlickrCC

By Michael Virtanen/Associated Press

Federal mining regulators have told the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to halt its study of the health risks for people living near Appalachian surface coal mines.

Some studies have linked living near mountaintop removal mines to greater risks of cancer, birth defects and premature death.

The Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which announced last year it was funding the $1 million study, said in an Aug. 18 letter that the department has begun reviewing grants over $100,000 largely for budget reasons.

“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,” spokesman William Kearney said Monday. Two public meetings scheduled this week in Kentucky will be held, he added.

Results were expected next spring. Some studies have linked living near mountaintop removal mines to greater risks of cancer, birth defects and premature death.

Read the full story at: www.usnews.com

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