Coal Mining in Alaska: Hazards to Human Health and the Environment

August 1, 2011
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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There is increasing pressure to develop Alaska's coal for foreign export and domestic use, yet coal development poses serious threats to human health and the environment. The coal mining industry is the leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Inhaling coal dust also causes black lung disease in coal mine workers. Coal mining is also hazardous to people living nearby who have been found to have higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, lung disease and kidney disease. Communities near coal mines may also face health problems linked to water pollution, as exposed rock from rubble deposits and abandoned mines releases heavy metals and other pollutants that contaminate drinking water and surface water.

CHE-Alaska hosted this call for all to learn more about the health hazards of coal mining and community concerns about the proposed Wishbone Hill and Chuitna coal mines in Alaska.

Featured Speakers

  • Michele Prevost, MD, orthopedic surgeon and Palmer resident living within one mile of the proposed Wishbone Hill mine.
  • Jessica Dryden Winnestaffer (invited), Environmental Stewardship Department Director, Chickaloon Native Village