Yarmuth wants federal study of mountaintop removal

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Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 9:01 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky and U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York have filed legislation that would require a federal study of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

The measure also would impose a moratorium on all new mountaintop removal mining permits while feds review health consequences.

Yarmuth, the only Democrat in Kentucky's federal delegation, claims mountaintop removal coal mining contaminates water supplies with heavy metals, making people sick. He said the legislation would provide families in mining communities with answers to questions about potential health impacts. And he said if the study doesn't prove mountaintop mining is safe, it should be outlawed.

In mountaintop removal, coal companies use heavy machinery and explosives to remove the upper levels of mountains to expose coal layers.

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