A two-year-old, $15 million coal industry project to fund research on mining's health, environmental and economic impacts is beginning to produce results. New papers have been published, conference presentations are being delivered, and a weeklong symposium is scheduled for later this month.  So far, the published studies have not disproved previous work that linked mountaintop removal to water pollution, deforestation and the risk of serious illnesses.
Company-backed reports are pointing out some potential flaws in earlier research. They also are generating questions of their own, in part because industry's role in funding the work has not been clearly disclosed.

A third ARIES-funded paper, by researchers at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Virginia, examined recent studies that linked living near mountaintop-removal mining to increased risks of serious illnesses and premature death. That paper criticized existing work on the subject, complaining that it was produced mostly by WVU's Michael Hendryx or researchers working with Hendryx, and said that more studies by others were needed to confirm or disprove the findings.