Mountaintop Removal

Anti-mining activists Chuck Nelson and Junior Walk staring out over the Brushy Fork coal tailings dam. Photo by Arianna Skibell.
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

COAL: ‘This is our home. We don’t want to live nowhere else’

NAOMA, WV — “But even the coal jobs in West Virginia have dried up. In the 1950s, the industry employed around 125,000 people. Today, that number is closer to 20,000 or 30,000. As a result, in part, of mechanized mining and natural gas expansion, West Virginia is losing its population […]

Junior Walk, outreach coordinator for Coal River Mountain Watch, surveys fresh progress at an active mountaintop removal coal mining site in southern West Virginia (Credit: Arianna Skibell).
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

COAL: Stream rule dies, but ex-miners keep fighting

NAOMA, WV — “A stroke of President Trump’s pen earlier this year erased a regulation that took Barack Obama’s entire presidency to draft. Flanked in a White House ceremony by coal miners, their bosses and a handful of lawmakers, Trump proclaimed that his repeal of the fledgling Stream Protection Rule would […]

Nathan Hall, left, and Todd Howard checked a field of hemp, one of six sites the pair manages. Instead of a silver bullet, Mr. Hall said, “We want to be a part of the silver buckshot that’s going to hopefully transform this region.” Photo Credit: Mike Belleme for The New York Times
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

Beyond coal: Imagining Appalachia’s future

To offset lost mining jobs, officials, business leaders and environmentalists are setting aside political feuds to try to create an entrepreneurial economy PIKEVILLE, KY — “Nearly 13,000 coal jobs — and countless more in related industries — have disappeared in Kentucky since President Obama took office; coal employment is at […]

Activist Larry Gibson looking over a ridge at the Kayford Mountain Mountaintop Removal site.
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

National Academy of Sciences to study mountaintop removal health effects

WASHINGTON, DC — “An expert team being appointed by the National Academy of Sciences will examine a ‘growing amount of academic research’ that suggests ‘possible correlations’ between increased public health risks for Appalachian residents and living near mountaintop removal coal mining, the Obama administration announced Wednesday. A 12-member committee from […]

Blood On The Mountain documentary film screening event
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

Blood On The Mountain documentary film screening event

CLEVELAND — Nuevo Cleveland and Ohio Citizen Action will host a screening of “Blood On The Mountain” outdoors at Nuevo Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. From the Producers of “The Appalachians” and “Coal Country”, “Blood On The Mountain” is a searing investigation into the economic and environmental injustices that […]

Photo by Vivan Stockman, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, flyover courtesy of Southwings.
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

Obama visits West Virginia on coal disaster anniversary: Will he finally recognize Appalachian health emergency?

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV — “Ever since Obama took office, the long-time tragedy of Oxycontin and prescription painkillers, along with heroin, has ravaged coal mining communities in central Appalachia–despite years of national news investigations on failed regulatory enforcement. In that same light, after years of ignoring pleas from besieged residents on […]

Father John Rausch has spent 40 years defending the poor in Appalachian Kentucky.
Coal / Energy / Mountaintop Removal

Meet the Catholic priest fighting for environmental issues in Kentucky

Joie Chen meets Father John Rausch, who has spent 40 years defending the poor in Appalachia GLENMARY, KY — “For more than 40 years, Rausch, a transplant from North Philadelphia, has lived here, firmly rooted in Appalachia. He first came to work with the poor in these mountains, a priest of […]

A coal tipple lies abandoned near an closed mine site outside of Whitesburg, Ky., in June. (Joby Warrick/The Washington Post)
Clean Power Plan / Coal / Energy / Mountaintop Removal

Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes

HAZARD, KY — “The story is the same across much of the country as the EPA prepares to roll out what is arguably the biggest and most controversial environmental regulation of the Obama presidency. Under the Clean Power Plan, states will have to find ways to achieve dramatic cuts in […]

Coal production using mountaintop removal mining decreases by 62% since 2008
Coal / Mountaintop Removal

Coal production using mountaintop removal mining decreases by 62% since 2008

WASHINGTON, DC — “Coal production from mines with mountaintop removal (MTR) permits has declined since 2008, more than the downward trend in total U.S. coal production. Total U.S. coal production decreased about 15% from 2008 to 2014. Surface production decreased about 21%, and mountaintop removal, one type of surface production, […]

Coal / Mountaintop Removal

New York Times: ‘The People v. the Coal Baron’

CHARLESTON, WV — “Over the weekend, The New York Times published an interesting West Virginia Day offering:  A lengthy story about former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. The story dug deep into the archives of various Blankenship controversies, and understandably made much about the big trial that’s coming up in […]