Unfortunately, we still don’t have a reason for the cancelation
On Tuesday, Reuters published an important story on why last year’s major study of the effects of mountaintop removal was abruptly terminated:
The U.S. Interior Department has been unable to adequately explain why it canceled a $1 million study on the public health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining, the agency’s inspector general office said in a report released on Tuesday. . . .
When the Interior Department was asked by the inspector general to detail the reasons for its decision to cancel the study, it could not produce any evidence of a formal review, the watchdog said in its report.
The Reuters report also cites an outside investigation as to why the study was likely dropped:
A report this week by magazine Pacific Standard showed that Katharine MacGregor, deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management at Interior, was pushing for the study to be suspended after meetings with coal industry groups, according to public records it obtained. . . .
The National Mining Association called the NAS report “unnecessary” and said existing literature on mountaintop mining shows it poses no public health hazards.
I guess we should just trust the National Mining Association with our health.
In a blog post, Charlie Pierce, as he often does, cut through the bureaucratic and industry doublespeak and explained the reason for the termination of the study:
This study got cancelled because Zinke and his merry band of vandals didn’t want to know the results. . . . The government didn’t want the answers to questions it didn’t want to ask.
Was there any local coverage of this?
Of course not, there was no room: they still had more WVU stories to publish.
Despite an editorial on the mountaintop study a couple of weeks back, today’s local “newspapers” did not carry any news about the Inspector General’s findings. Coverage of the report probably was knocked out by two more front-page “news” articles generated from Linda Comins’ attendance at West Virginia University’s Academic Media Day on Monday. Talk about bang for Ogden’s buck: we’re now up to four front-page, non-news stories about WVU from Comins’ one day in Morgantown. (And WVU provided lunch, too!) Next up? How about an editorial praising WVU and its president, E. Gordon Gee?