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Study on Health Risks of Living Near Mining Sites in Central Appalachia Stops

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine announced it was told to cease all work on a study of the potential health risks for people living near surface coal mine sites in Central Appalachia. In an August 18 letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the department said it has begun an agency-wide review of its grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $100,000, largely as a result of the department’s changing budget situation.

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New Interim MSHA Secretary is Named

On Monday, August 21, the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) announced that President Donald Trump had selected Wayne Palmer to serve as acting assistant secretary of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Palmer is currently the chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Labor (DOL). Palmer will be replaced by Nicholas Geale, DOL’s solicitor, according to the NSSGA.

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HBO Loses Motion to Move Murray Energy Suit to Federal Court

A federal court judge in West Virginia has agreed with Murray Energy (MEC) in its defamation case against Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” host John Oliver to send the case to a lower state court for review. The judge rejected HBO’s motion to move the case to federal court. The case was remanded to the Circuit Court of Marshall County.

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Judge Rules Against Signal Peak Expansion

A U.S. District Court judge invalidated a proposed expansion of Signal Peak Energy’s Bull Mountains mine because he said the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) did not adequately consider the climate impacts. Judge Donald W. Molloy of the District Court of Montana reportedly barred mining in the proposed expansion area, located south of Roundup, Montana.

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Feds Further Fund REEs-From-Coal Tech Research

The federal government announced Wednesday, August 16 $17.4 million in possible funding for research into technologies that extract rare earth elements (REEs) from coal and coal waste. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected four projects to potentially receive the funds to test plans and designs made with the help of a previous phase of DOE grant money. 

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