The Front Porch Blog, with Updates from AppalachiaThe Front Porch Blog, with Updates from Appalachia


Tennessee enacts law halting efforts to take over surface mine regulation from federal government

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

On May 11, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee enacted a significant law that temporarily halts the state's pursuit of primacy. Primacy refers to a state's right to petition the federal government to become the primary authority in issuing surface mine permits and implementing associated regulations. [ Read More ]

Federal review of mining rule may speed up complaint process

Monday, January 17th, 2022 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

An upcoming federal review of a mining rule could help speed up the process for coalfield residents who file federal complaints about state mining agencies. [ Read More ]

Online tool helps track status of mine ownership in aftermath of Blackjewel bankruptcy

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

The fate of thousands of acres of mines requiring tens of millions of dollars of reclamation was thrown into doubt when Blackjewel, Revelation Energy and affiliated mining operations filed for bankruptcy in July 2019. [ Read More ]

New Tennessee law is a giveaway for coal companies

Monday, July 26th, 2021 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

A new Tennessee law that changes the way surface mining is regulated in the state will force Tennessee taxpayers to prop up the industry and make it easier for coal operators to walk away from mine reclamation. [ Read More ]

Court rules that coal mines need a permit for water pollution from valley fills

Thursday, May 20th, 2021 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Good news for clean water! Despite a setback in appeals court, overall the Red River Coal Company court ruling will help communities fight back against pollution from mountaintop removal coal mines. [ Read More ]

Covid’s impact on coal sharpens the pandemic’s economic hardships

Friday, August 21st, 2020 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Even before the pandemic, a growing number of coal companies were declaring bankruptcy — and now the decades-long decline of coal is in a nosedive. This will leave already-shortchanged coalfield communities even less money to deal with decades of damage to people's health and the environment. [ Read More ]

Delays, pollution and financial hurdles plague Blackjewel mines

Monday, May 18th, 2020 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Recent developments in the Blackjewel bankruptcy case raise more doubts about whether the serious reclamation problems at many of its coal sites will be properly addressed anytime soon. [ Read More ]

Justice family mines pose massive threat to Virginia reclamation fund

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Satellite photos taken years apart reveal that little reclamation has taken place at several Virginia mines owned by the family of billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. [ Read More ]

Citizen scientists uncover water quality violations in Kentucky national forest

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Citizen scientists discovered that acid mine drainage is causing a creek in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest to flow a bright orange, and they spurred state regulators to issue citations to the mine operators. But mining company Revelation Energy is in bankruptcy, which leaves big questions about who will clean up the mess — and when. [ Read More ]

Bankrupt Westmoreland Coal granted permission to sever worker agreements

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled that Westmoreland Coal Company can back out of its collective bargaining agreements with current workers and retirees as soon as Feb. 28, putting pensions and health benefits for thousands of people at risk. [ Read More ]

Virginians brace for the fallout from Westmoreland Coal’s bankruptcy

Friday, January 11th, 2019 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

Westmoreland Coal's bankruptcy puts health benefits for 500 Virginians and pensions for 7,000 former Virginia miners in jeopardy. A bill proposed in the Senate would protect these benefits — and also shore up the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. [ Read More ]

Westmoreland Coal’s Appalachian connection

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 | Posted by Matt Hepler | No Comments

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. [ Read More ]



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