coal mining

Updated on Feb. 6 at 3:49 p.m. ET

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they've identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future.

Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single source.

Still from White House video

President Donald Trump made coal a central theme of his first year in office. So after a year in office, what does his record tell us? The Ohio Valley ReSource series, “One Year, Under Trump,” looks at what the president has done on some of the region’s key issues. As Becca Schimmel reports, despite the coal-heavy rhetoric, the area’s industry has seen only minor change in employment.

U.S. coal mines recorded 15 workplace deaths in 2017 only a year after they hit a record low, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data released on Tuesday.

In 2016, just nine deaths occurred in U.S. coal mines.

West Virginia mines saw eight deaths, Kentucky had two, and one each occurred at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Vivian Stockman and Southwings

  The prestigious National Academy of Sciences is pursuing private funding to complete a study of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining after the Trump administration ordered a halt to the scientific work.

C-Span Video via Ohio Valley Resource

The Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget has announced a review of an Obama-era rule that protects coal miners from exposure to the dust that causes black lung disease. That has some health and safety advocates concerned.

Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm

  Throughout coal mining country of the Eastern U.S. you will find streams that run a peculiar rusty orange. It’s the result of pollution called acid mine drainage, or AMD. It’s estimated that about 10,000 miles of streams are polluted by AMD in Pennsylvania and West Virginia alone. In fact, researchers have calculated that every second, coal mines throughout the region are pumping out about 3,000 cubic feet of AMD. That’s roughly equal to an average May day’s flow of water in the Monongahela River as it winds through the region.

Glynis Board | Ohio Valley ReSource

Last month the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt chose an eastern Kentucky mining town as the venue to announce his intent to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions. On Tuesday the agency returned to coal country to conduct its only public hearing on the matter in Charleston, West Virginia. 

MSHA

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Wednesday, 52 to 46, to narrowly confirm President Trump’s nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. 

iStockPhoto

Alpha Natural Resources has announced the transfer of mostly idle mining properties in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to Lexington Coal Co., related ongoing royalty payments and reclamation equipment. 

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