Coal Tattoo

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AP photo by Jeff Gentner

New federal legislation was introduced today that seeks a moratorium on new mountaintop removal permits and demands that the federal government examine the growing scientific evidence that residents living near these mining operations are at greater risk of serious health problems, including cancer and birth defects.

Here’s part of the announcement:

Thirteen Members of Congress led by Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) today introduced legislation to provide a full scientific analysis of the potential health threats to communities affected by mountaintop mining. H.R. 5959, The Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act (ACHE), would also place a moratorium on new mountaintop removal coal mines and expansion of existing mines until the science demonstrates the mines will not cost local families their lives or their health.

Kucinich said:

The Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act will provide the families in these communities the answers and the protection they deserve. Mountaintop mining is a practice in which entire mountaintops are blown up in order to access a seam of coal sitting deep inside the mountain. The evidence is growing that toxic chemicals that are safely sequestered in rock inside the mountain, get released when the mountains are turned inside out.

The ACHE Act will stop new mountaintop removal coal mines until the science clearly demonstrates the mines will not cost these hard working communities their health or their lives. It will also fund some of the best researchers in the world to carry out that science.

There’s also a press release from coalfield citizen groups here.  Longtime activist Bo Webb said:

The Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act offers an opportunity to all House members to put differences aside and swiftly pass a bill that will protect the health and lives of the unborn.

Other sponsors include: Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Michael Honda (D-CA), James Moran (D-VA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Conyers (D-MI), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Keith Ellison (D-MN).