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A social justice group is calling for an investigation into eastern Kentucky floods

KFTC map showing where drowning fatalities took place in July 2022 flooding
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
KFTC map showing where drowning fatalities took place in July 2022 flooding

A social justice group is looking for answers about last summer’s deadly floods in eastern Kentucky. The group, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has sent a letter to U.S. government officials asking for a comprehensive, federal investigation in the possible role that coal mining could have had in the flooding.

During a conference call with various media outlets on Monday, member Robert Gipe said they want to discuss the enforcement of the Surface Mine Reclamation and Control Act of 1977.

“We feel that there is a link between the flooding and the state of surface mining in our state. We feel like there has been some breakdowns in the regulatory process and this is a 50-year-old law at this point, and it seems like a great time to revisit what’s happening.”

Beverly May is a public health doctor and a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. In a conference call with members of the media Monday, she said now is the time for a thorough investigation.

“The reason we’re calling on the federal government to investigate this is because, we’re now talking about a massive cumulative effect of all those decades of mining and it’s going to take a federal effort to understand what has happened.”

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has sent the letter to officials with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Justice.

An interactive map showing where fatalities happened during the flooding can be found here.

WEKU has reached out the U.S. Department of the Interior for comment.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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