Dems float reviving coal health study scrapped by Trump

By Hannah Northey | 06/06/2024 06:43 AM EDT

The legislation would require a study on the effects of strip mining in Appalachia.

Rep. Morgan McGarvey (D-Ky.).

Rep. Morgan McGarvey (D-Ky.). Timothy Easley/AP

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would restart a long-stalled federal study looking at exactly how surface coal mining is affecting public health in Central Appalachia — research that was previously nixed under the Trump administration.

House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Rep. Morgan McGarvey of Kentucky introduced H.R. 8614, a bill that would authorize the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to study how Appalachian surface coal mining affects human health.

The research would look at how proximity to coal mining operations — unreclaimed, idle and abandoned — increases health risks in surrounding communities.


“It’s long past time that the federal government steps up to help people in Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia — not fossil fuel executives,” said McGarvey, who replaced mountaintop mining opponent John Yarmuth in the House last year.