The Biden administration and the nation’s top miners' union agree that a clean, healthy future means a future without coal and that we need to bring coal communities along with us during this transition. As members of Congress and the administration identify the needed investments to clean up and revitalize coal communities, we shouldn’t let the companies that have benefitted and continue to benefit from mining and combusting coal off the hook.
For decades, coal mining and combustion has permeated communities with harmful pollution. From coal extraction – where the tops of mountains are sometimes blown off, polluting local water supplies and destroying ecosystems – to combustion, which leaves behind ash laced with toxins, the practices are correlated with higher rates of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as birth defects in surrounding communities.
To protect communities from the coal mining and combustion still ahead, the government should put a stop to mountaintop removal practices and better regulate coal ash. The latter should include improving monitoring of surface and groundwater, but also eliminating loopholes that allow existing operators to seek exemptions.
Read more at The Hill