West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice made nearly $2 billion off Appalachia’s coalfields, but his family’s mines owe back taxes in multiple states. They have also accrued hundreds of environmental violations, and many idled mines are still unreclaimed.
Although Central Appalachian coal production has seen a slight rebound since 2016, it may be short-lived due to export and transportation costs. Additionally, two coal companies filed for bankruptcy last fall.
A tax on coal companies funding benefits for former miners with black lung disease was halved at the first of the year.
The Dan River coal ash spill sparked a flurry of coal ash cleanup legislation, public hearings, community meetings and more across North Carolina. But where does coal ash stand in the state now?
In October 2018, the oldest coal company in the United States filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While now largely operating in the western United States, Westmoreland has many ties to Southwest Virginia.
From monitoring the health of local waterways to tracking the changing seasons, people from all walks of life are seizing the opportunity to participate in scientific projects.
Citizen scientists surveil water quality near active and former coal mines to hold companies accountable to the law.
Environmental groups claim in a federal lawsuit that Republic Energy is illegally operating a strip mine on Coal River Mountain by using a state permit that expired in 2011.
Virginia businessman Tom Clarke’s foray into the coal industry initially looked promising for addressing environmental and community problems. Now, however, his business model is looking questionable.