Kucinich, 12 Members of Congress Introduce Legislation to Protect Health in Coal Mining Communities

For Immediate Release

Kucinich, 12 Members of Congress Introduce Legislation to Protect Health in Coal Mining Communities

WASHINGTON - 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.

“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,” said Kucinich.

One peer-reviewed study found that affected communities, when compared to communities surrounding non-mountaintop removal mines, showed elevated levels of birth defects. Another analysis in the journal, Science, also looked at communities near mountaintop removal coal mining communities. It found that toxic chemicals from the mines are making their way into groundwater, streams, edible fish from those streams, and airborne dust. It found that, as a function of county-level coal production, adult hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary disorders and hypertension are elevated, “as are rates of mortality; lung cancer; and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease.”

“These small communities deserve better than to wonder whether their corporate neighbors are poisoning the soil that provides some of their food; the air they breathe; and the water they drink, cook, and bathe with,” said Kucinich.

The ACHE Act is cosponsored by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), 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).

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