coal

Erica Peterson, WFPL News

For the past few years, politicians have gained votes in the coalfields by raising false hopes about a resurgence of coal.  

During his campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump echoed the Republican line on coal: that it’s abundant, and unfairly targeted by environmental regulations under President Barack Obama’s administration.

Southwings and Vivian Stockman

The prestigious National Academy of Sciences recently announced a comprehensive study on the health effects of the controversial coal mining practice known as mountaintop removal. For coalfield residents who have long questioned what impact the dust, blasting, chemicals and water contamination was having, the announcement comes as welcome news, if somewhat overdue.  

Kenn W. Kiser, morgueFile.com

Coal-producing states are preparing for arguments next month in the federal appeals court case known as West Virginia v. EPA, challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

WKMS File Photo

At this week’s Democratic National Convention, two presidents ran blocks for Hillary Clinton on an issue that has crippled her favorability in Appalachia: coal.

Both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton brought up coal in their speeches endorsing Hillary’s presidential bid.

J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL News

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he would spend more money on technology and improve roads in eastern Kentucky to help the region recover from the devastating effects of a declining coal industry. 

WKMS File Photo

Kentucky regulators are looking for proposals to spur economic development on Appalachia’s abandoned surface mines.

All over eastern Kentucky, you see cars and pickup trucks with black license plates proclaiming the owner is a "friend of coal."

Even though the license plates are all over, it's getting harder to find actual coal miners here: Fewer than 6,000 remain in the state, where the coal industry is shrinking fast. More than 10,000 coal workers have been laid off since 2008.

Many have had to leave the area to find work, but a few have found employment in other — and sometime unexpected — fields, as businesses are innovating to use former coal workers in new ways.

Todd Hatton, WKMS

Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers is sponsoring a bill that could send a billion dollars back to coal-producing states to help with economic development.

Erica Peterson | wfpl.org

 Across the Atlantic Ocean, governments and businesses are taking big steps toward renewable energy. Their transition could provide lessons for Kentucky.

This is the first in a five-part series.

Wikimedia Commons/Author: PixOnTrax

Earlier this month, Bank of America became the latest large financial institution to announce it would limit its financing of coal companies.

The move stemmed from concerns about climate change and regulatory factors that make investing in the industry more risky. The new approach to coal companies was pushed by environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network. But in Kentucky, the head of the coal association said the policy would likely have little practical impact on the coal industry.

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