Coal

Southwings and Vivian Stockman

For more than a decade Ohio Valley residents have been asking government agencies to respond to science that links coal mining to health problems in nearby communities. Last year the prestigious National Academy of Sciences launched a study on the issue. But the Trump administration has stopped it. Glynis Board reports on what that means for coal communities and the scientists studying them.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

iStockPhoto

The U.S. Department of Energy has decided to continue to fund research that investigates recovery of rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts.

Vivian Stockman and Southwings

The Trump administration’s Department of the Interior has asked the National Academy of Sciences to suspend research into the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, via Ohio Valley ReSource

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who recently switched to the Republican party, is asking President Trump for more help for the coal industry. Glynis Board of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports that Justice wants payments from the federal government to offset the costs of Appalachian coal.

Erica Peterson, WFPL

  New numbers from the first two quarters of this year show both coal production and employment are continuing to decline in Kentucky, despite President Donald Trump’s promises that miners would be going back to work.

What opportunities are there for a coal-mining community after its main industry has waned?

In Somerset County in southwestern Pennsylvania, that's not an easy question to answer. For this county of roughly 76,000 residents, renewable energy and health care offer hopes for its future. But first it has to attract qualified workers.

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.

Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.

NRDC

  Political leaders in West Virginia and Kentucky are joining a coalition of states threatening to sue California over a program the state is pushing that would drop investments in coal.

Gabe Bullard, via WFPL

  A U.S. House committee has advanced a bill that would send a billion dollars for mine reclamation and economic development in coal communities.

Pages