"MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- It didn't take long for the new associate professor at West Virginia University to give the state's most powerful industry a bad case of heartburn."
"Michael Hendryx's first study at the Department of Community Medicine, launched not long after his 2006 arrival here from the Pacific Northwest, focused on coal mining's effects on public health. He compared mining data with a large survey of West Virginians to see whether there was a correlation between mining -- notably, mountaintop-removal projects -- and medical problems.
'I remember working on merging the data sets together and trying to control for age and smoking rates and poverty and these other risk factors and finally setting up the model, hitting the run button and not knowing what I would see,' he recalled in a recent interview. 'Sure enough, there it was. I said, "Oh my God!" I was surprised, frankly.'"