Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 16, 2013

Report: Health risks high for mountaintop removal areas

Bissett, Stumbo dispute findings of WVU professor

(Continued)

FRANKFORT —

“Over 90 percent of (Floyd County) has treated water, so what caused this?” Stumbo asked. “It’s not the air; it’s not drinking the water. So what would be the cause if you believe there is some sort of relationship?”

Hendryx compared those sorts of questions to those who once questioned the dangers of smoking, citing a lack of direct cause-effect evidence.

“You see it time and again, you see the environment is impaired and you see the people are sick and yet people that like to support mining will deny it and try to say we don’t really know, it’s not proven,” said Hendryx. “Well, what do you want? And what is it if it’s not mining?

“I’m a rational person. To me, if you have evidence like this, that there’s a problem, then something should be done about it,” Hendryx continued. “I can’t pinpoint a particular contaminant or chemical. But even if we don’t know exactly what is causing it, the conclusion that there are health problems is undeniable – undeniable.”

Bissett, the head of the coal association, questioned Hendryx’s methodology and motivation.

"While Dr. Hendryx is not a medical doctor, he is a researcher who begins his research with a bias against coal and its extraction,” Bissett said in an email response to questions. “This bias is further revealed through his coordination with and the support of anti-coal groups such as the KFTC. In the past, Hendryx has used information gained through telephone interviews instead of medical records or actual examinations.”

Hendryx said no outside environmental groups such as the Sierra Club or KFTC funds his research and he began his studies with no bias about coal. Data for the Kentucky study were collected from personal, face-to-face interviews.

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