Blog Archives

Environmental regulations didn’t cause coal’s decline — and rollbacks won’t save it.

Now that he's in office, President Trump's promises to coal are colliding with the reality of the market forces shaping the industry's future. Photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.

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.

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Protect natural resources for Southwest Virginia’s future

Ron Short

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.”

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Fighting for clean water after the Stream Protection Rule

A valley fill beneath a mountaintop removal mine in eastern Kentucky. The Stream Protection Rule would have limited the practice.

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.

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Final Stream Protection Rule released

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On Monday, the U.S. Department of the Interior released the Stream Protection Rule, which aims to protect streams from the impacts of surface and longwall mining. The final rule offers only modest improvements to protections for public waterways, but it is well worth defending from congressional attack.

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Trump’s Would-Be Coal Comeback Faces Long Odds

President-elect Donald Trump has expressed his support of the coal industry. Less clear is how he will attempt to revive the struggling sector — or how he will confront the collateral damage to human health, the environment and the climate that could result.

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America’s miners deserve better than this; time to do your part

In the wake of Patriot Coal's broken promises to union miners and retirees, The United Mine Workers of America have represented their members' sense of injustice in cities and courtrooms across the region. Photo by Ann Smith, special to the UMW Journal

America owes a debt to the nation’s coal miners. The Miners Protection Act would begin to pay that debt, but the opportunity for Congress to pass the bill is quickly slipping away.

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Southwest Virginians speak out against Doe Branch Mine

A map of the Doe Branch Mine and watershed connections to the Russell Fork River. At a recent hearings Southwest Virginians shared their concerns about Doe Branch with state regulators.

“God gave us the water so we can stay clean, and so we can drink it. I don’t want poison in the water.” Those are the words of 6-year-old Levi Marney, spoken to representatives of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy at a public meeting about the proposed Doe Branch mountaintop removal mine in Haysi.

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Duke Energy’s empire grows with natural gas

The pivot toward gas is especially pronounced in the eastern U.S., with Duke at the forefront of a historic fuel switch.

Duke Energy’s purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas was finalized this week after North Carolina utility regulators signed off on the deal. The acquisition is only the latest development in a regionwide push to expand natural gas investments and infrastructure that foreshadows an energy future experts are urging us to avoid.

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A growing mine is a growing problem for the Russell Fork River

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The history of the Doe Branch mine in Southwest Virginia is long and complicated, and its future remains unclear. A bankruptcy saga with the mine’s previous owner stalled development in the past year, but things appear to be getting back on track — putting the Russell Fork River at risk.

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OSMRE announces review of mountaintop removal health research

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Contact: Erin Savage, Central Appalachia Campaign Coordinator, 206-769-8286 The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) announced today that it will fund a $1 million review by the National Academy of Sciences of current research on the links

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