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Severe Black Lung Disease Makes A Deadly Resurgence

lung with progressive massive fibrosis

Diagnoses of the most severe form of black lung disease, known as progressive massive fibrosis, are on the rise in Appalachia. The causes of this deadly trend aren’t entirely clear, though it may be linked to the silica rock dust associated with thinner layers of coal.

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Cultivating Forest Medicinals, Creating Healthy Economy

women harvest black cohosh

Appalachia’s forest are home to a stunning array of medicinal plants. A movement called forest farming is emerging to grow these plants in private forestland to decrease strains on plant populations and strengthen the market for the region’s botanicals.

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The Human Impact: Mining and Fracking in Appalachia

Heavy traffic to and from a fracking well pad causes a dust cloud along a small roadway in West Virginia. Aug. 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of The FracTracker Alliance, www.fractracker.org/photos

Extracting coal and natural gas is linked to a range of health problems in Appalachia, including shorter life expectancies.

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Wildflower Wonders

appalachian grass of parnassus

Wildflowers are one of Appalachia’s most vibrant symbols of summer. As the season’s end nears, we explore a few beautiful, unique flowers that blossom in late summer along mountain trails, forests and riverbeds.

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Communities Aim to Solve the Opioid Epidemic

needle_cleanup

Opioid abuse is on the rise across America, and Appalachia has been hit particularly hard. In response, some local governments and treatment centers are trying new treatment methods, with varying degrees of success. Efforts are also underway to curb the availability of opioid prescriptions and eliminate the stigma associated with addiction.

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A Burning Issue: The Health Costs of Coal Ash

David Hairston

Coal ash has been linked to a number of health problems, and community concerns have spurred researchers from the University of North Carolina to investigate drinking water wells in the state.

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Traversing the Rock Formations at Kentucky’s Natural Bridge

underside view of Natural Bridge

On the outskirts of the Red River Gorge, hikers at Natural Bridge State Resort Park walk among natural sandstone structures and climb stairs amid thickets of rhododendron and the shade of hemlocks.

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Two Interstate Pipelines Clear Regulatory Hurdles Despite Opposition

map of pipeline routes

As the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines clear some of the regulatory hurdles in their way, communities have rallied to state public hearings on water quality certifications to voice their opposition.

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Appalachian Access to Affordable Healthcare

health clinic workers

Changes in federal health policy could leave even more residents without adequate access to healthcare — and increase the number of patients who rely on nonprofit safety net clinics. In Southwest Virginia, the grassroots group We Care aims to create more dialogue between the public and legislators about the healthcare system.

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Problems Persist for Rover and Mariner East 2 Pipelines During Construction

Construction of two natural gas pipelines has contaminated wetlands or local drinking water systems. State judges and agencies have halted construction in response.

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