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


Blackjewel mine creates emergency road hazard in Russell County, VA

Thursday, September 9th, 2021 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Heavy rains caused debris from an inactive coal mine to block portions of VA State Route 632 in late August — an event that might become all too common with climate change-fueled rainfall likely to intensify. [ Read More ]

A bond forfeiture, unpaid fines, and a no-show: one month in the life of a Jim Justice family coal mine

Friday, July 9th, 2021 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

As a Virginia mine continues to rack up environmental and safety problems, state regulators are proceeding with their strongest enforcement option — bond forfeiture. Based on the track record of related Justice family companies, the situation is not likely to improve. [ Read More ]

Enforcement of mine cleanup rules is needed to protect communities, create jobs

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

During a recent House Natural Resources hearing on the issue of sluggish, inadequate, or totally non-existent reclamation on currently permitted coal mines, community advocates called for federal regulators to firmly enforce existing regulations and act in the public interest. [ Read More ]

Tighter silica rules needed to protect miners from black lung disease

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Coal miners are legally allowed to be exposed to twice as much dangerous silica dust as any other worker. That needs to change. [ Read More ]

Company’s bankruptcy makes it harder for residents to address problems with nearby mines

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

People living near a pair of Virginia mountaintop removal coal mines have long complained about blasting and dust. Now, the company’s bankruptcy makes it even harder for nearby residents to get relief. [ Read More ]

Virginia regulators poised to grant mining permits to questionable company

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

As companies go bankrupt, they tend to pass off their mine mining permits — and the responsibility to reclaim them — to increasingly questionable entities. This is currently unfolding in Southwest Virginia, if the state mining agency allows it. [ Read More ]

Coal miners call on Congress for support amidst dual threats from black lung and COVID-19

Monday, April 27th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

The coal industry is trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic for a tax break at the expense of healthcare and disability benefits for miners with black lung, but miners are pushing back. [ Read More ]

Bond-forfeited Virginia Blackjewel mines may finally have a buyer

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Three Virginia strip mines, neglected in the wake of the Blackjewel bankruptcy, may finally have a buyer. But it remains to be seen if the new company would be able to reclaim the land. [ Read More ]

Companies play hot potato with unreclaimed Blackjewel mines

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Virginia regulators, a surety insurance company, and two coal companies are playing hot potato with 22 of bankrupt Blackjewel’s coal permits — and none of them want to be left with the responsibility of reclaiming the sites. [ Read More ]

Black lung service providers shift in the face of COVID-19

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

As coal miners with black lung disease have a heightened risk of complications from coronavirus, black lung healthcare providers work to respond to the global pandemic. [ Read More ]

Virginia issues new enforcement actions for Justice family mine violations

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Mining companies owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his family have chronically violated environmental standards and failed to pay fines and fees. Virginia regulators recently issued notices of mine permit revocation and bond forfeiture for two of the family's companies. [ Read More ]

Protected or not? Coal company pushes for mine in protected Tennessee area

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 | Posted by Willie Dodson | No Comments

Federal regulators are considering a proposal for a new surface coal mine in Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains, despite the fact that in 2016, the federal government declared most of the area in question off-limits to surface mining. [ Read More ]



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