The Clearfork Valley of Tennessee has been intensely surface-mined going back decades. Now, Kopper Glo Mining is moving forward with a nearly 1,500-acre mountaintop removal mine on nearby Cooper Ridge.
The U.S. Department of the Interior ordered the National Academy of Sciences to halt its review of the links between mountaintop removal coal mining and human health impacts.
Jobs in solar outnumber coal in Virginia; U.S. Dept. of Energy seeks to extract rare earth elements from coal; U.S. Dept. of Interior pans to accelerate drilling for oil and gas on federal lands; Duke Energy withdraws plan to add chemical compounds to coal-fired power plants that would have threatened drinking water.
The RECLAIM Act would accelerate the cleanup of abandoned mines while spurring economic opportunities in coal communities.
Despite promises made by President Donald Trump to revive the coal industry, CEOs from the region’s largest utilities have stated that they don’t intend to return to burning coal to make electricity.
People from coal-impacted communities across Central Appalachia recently gathered in Wise County, Va., to share their concerns and ideas with U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva.
The coal lobby’s influence over the White House is a given at this point — as is the White House’s willingness to put its finger on the scale in favor of our dirtiest, most carbon-packed energy sources.
Despite his repeated promises to do so, President Trump is unlikely to revive the coal industry through federal policy, and CEOs of electric utilities and coal mining companies know it.
For all my life, the coal economy has ruled this region and its people,” writes Ron Short of Danville, Va., in a letter supporting the Stream Protection Rule. “Now we are facing the demise of the coal industry, and we must save the valuable natural resources that we have left if we are ever to develop cultural tourism and eco-tourism as important parts of a new economy that works for everyone.”
When Congress voted last week to overturn the Stream Protection Rule, people braced themselves for the coming impacts. But threats to public water from corporate and political interests are nothing new in Central Appalachia, nor is the problem unique to this area. In the face of these threats, communities fighting for clean water need our continued support.