The Interior Department hasn't sufficiently explained why it canceled a more than $1 million study into public health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining, according to the agency's internal watchdog. Blasting away mountain tops to get to the coal underneath can send toxic debris into rivers and streams and on top of homes and other buildings. Department officials said the study was canceled because it was "duplicative" and taking funding away from more important projects.
Class discussion: What would be more important than measuring the health impact of toxins in the water and air? How long could a person live without breathable air? How long could someone live without drinkable water? The government is ordering electric utilities to keep using coal burning plants and nuclear power. How many people are employed in the coal industry and nuclear plants? How does that compare with the number of workers in wind and solar power? How common is it for the U.S. government to subsidize one industry over another?