The locations of the 36 drowning deaths during the catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky last summer are closely correlated with large-scale coal strip mines, and a local non-profit is calling on the DOI to investigate further. “It was pretty chilling to see the location of the deaths, and to follow up a stream and see these large-scale mines at the head of the hollows,” public health nurse and Kentukians for the Commonwealth volunteer Beverly May told reporters.

Along with compiling an interactive map of the 36 deaths definitively caused by drowning of the 44 who perished during the flooding, KFTC is calling of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to investigate and determine whether the 46-year-old Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 should be reformed. “With mining, there’s nothing on the mountain to hold the water back,” said Neon resident Steve Peake, a KFTC volunteer whose home and property was damaged by the flooding. “We have strip mining in front of us. We have strip mining behind us. … We’ve had some floods before, but we never had anything like what came through July 28.” (Inside Climate News, WEKU)