Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2011     See sidebar for table of contents

Toll of Coal Conference Examines Impacts of Coal on Human Health

In November 2010, OVEC partnered with the Sierra Club and the Marshall University (MU) Student Environmental Action Coalition to sponsor the very successful Toll of Coal on Human Health Conference. The goals of the conference were to:

  • Raise public awareness about the various impacts coal has on human health from cradle to grave from mining to coal ash disposal;
  • Encourage health professionals and academics to speak out about the health impacts of coal;
  • Encourage student activism and research; and
  • Encourage attendees to influence policy-makers that a speedy transition to clean, renewable energy offers a clear path to a healthier, more sustainable future for people and the planet.

About 75 people attended the conference held at MU. Speakers included residents whose health has been compromised by mining-related activities, an academic researcher on health in coal communities, and one medical doctor.

Print and television media coverage was widespread and positive. After each presentation, we asked participants to come up with the steps needed to address each issue, such as policy initiatives, organizing steps, etc. The discussion will help us develop ways to address the problems.

A video and document of the conference proceedings are in the works, and will be distributed to attendees, EPA officials and others.

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