The widely reported news that President Donald Trump’s Department of Interior has halted an important research study by the National Academy of Sciences on the human health impact of mountaintop removal mining is very sad.
High-quality research and new knowledge would move us forward and enable informed decisions to be made. For a president who repeatedly expresses verbal support for coal miners and coal communities, the decision to terminate this research by one of the most esteemed scientific organizations in our country certainly does not appear to be in the interest of people who live and work in coal mining regions. One less weekend golf trip by Trump would save more than enough taxpayer money to cover costs for the entire research project.
Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr also tout their commitment to coal miners and coal communities. I would like to see their “Friends of Coal” views printed in the editorial pages of this newspaper, explaining whether blocking this National Academy of Sciences research study is a good idea.
I will be pleasantly surprised if they publicly share their thoughts on the topic.