Coal

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we’ll check in with Dave Mistich, the editor of our digital journalism project “100 Days in Appalachia” and Johnny Staats and Robert Shafer has our Mountain Stage song of the week.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Not many Americans know the story of the Mine Wars that were fought between workers, labor unions and mine company guards during the early 1900s. In this show, Jessica Lilly talks with filmmaker Randy MacLowry, whose new PBS documentary The Mine Wars focuses on these armed uprisings by labor organizers in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

Courtesy: Violet Gathalee Pavkovich

Violet Gathalee Pavkovich stands on the small back porch of her powder blue, turn-of-the-century farmhouse, an orange cat meandering around her legs. White wicker furniture contrasts the rusty railroad tracks that border her back yard.

“Trains hauling coal come through here two or three times a day,” she remarked casually. As I thank her for her time, she asks if she can give me a hug.

Roger May

This week on Inside Appalachia, we travel to Cedar Grove, West Virginia, home of renowned novelist Mary Lee Settle. On this episode, we explore surprising, hidden histories through the work of Settle and the voices of women from Cedar Grove.

On The Legislature Today, the Senate's Select Committee on Tax Reform begins discussing the chair's plan to reform the state's tax code, shifting from a personal income tax to a broader consumer sales tax.

Ted Boettner with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and John Deskins with the Bureau for Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University discuss the potential benefits and risks to the plan and it impacts on West Virginians. 

Dave Foster / West Virginia Rural Water Association

It’s been happening for years - water systems are slowly coming to a breaking point. The next episode of Inside Appalachia explores one legacy of the coal mining industry - crumbling water infrastructure.

Betting on Trump: Coal

Feb 16, 2017

Many coal miners saw the election of Donald Trump as a moment of hope; what can he actually do to bring back coal jobs?

Underground Fires, Toxins in Unfunded Cleanup of Old Mines

Jan 28, 2017
Rob Rice, left, chief of the West Virginia Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation, and planner Jonathan Knight check on the smoldering underground fire at a long-abandoned coal mine in Preston County, W.Va.
Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

PRESTON COUNTY — An underground coal mine fire burns beneath a sprawling hillside in West Virginia, the pale, acrid smoke rising from gashes in the scarred, muddy earth only a stone's throw from some houses.

 

The fire, which may have started with arson, lightning or a forest fire, smoldered for several years before bursting into flames last July in rural Preston County. The growing blaze moved the mine to the top of a list of thousands of problem decades-old coal sites in West Virginia awaiting cleanup and vying for limited federal funds.

 

Candace Nelson

If you didn’t grow up in West Virginia, you may have no idea what a pepperoni roll is. But those who grew up eating them in school cafeterias or buying them at some of the Italian bakeries in north-central West Virginia, probably know pepperoni rolls are strongly connected to Appalachian culture and childhood memories.

This week, we’ll learn a bit more about this signature Appalachian food, and we’ll learn about how its origins are deeply connected with the history and culture of coal mining, and to the food that miners brought to work in their lunch buckets.

Janet Kunicki / Wes

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined 17 Republican counterparts from other states urging Congress adopt stop federal regulation overreach.

In a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence and congressional leaders, they are calling for job-impact and cost-benefit analyses, greater congressional oversight and its approval of major rules changes.

Aaron Schackelford / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross is headed for Senate confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Ross made it to ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. His business dealings leave a mixed legacy in the Ohio Valley region, from rescued steel mills to the site of a searing workplace disaster, and raise questions about the leadership he would bring to the president’s cabinet.  

 

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

Jessica Lilly

The economy in southern West Virginia is suffering due to the collapsing of the coal industry and it’s not hard to find reports of layoffs. But an international coal company called ArcelorMittal Princeton is expanding operations at a McDowell County mine bringing 50 to 75 jobs back to the region.


Rebecca Kiger

Can a photograph help a community grow? One photographer is shedding some light on ongoing efforts in a region looking for some new ways to sustain itself.

The Obama administration on Monday set final rules designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation's streams, a long-anticipated move that met quick resistance from Republicans who vowed to overturn it under President-elect Donald Trump.

Jim Justice
Scott Halleran / Getty Images

A federal judge has approved a settlement requiring pollution reductions and a $900,000 civil penalty by Appalachian coal mines owned by West Virginia Governor-elect Jim Justice.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced the settlement in September with Southern Coal Corp. and 26 affiliates.

Coal Operator Justus Collins Born in Alabama: December 14, 1857

Dec 14, 2016
Justus Collins, e-WV
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Coal operator Justus Collins was born in Alabama on December 14, 1857. He got his start in coal mining in the Deep South but moved north about 1887 to pursue his fortune in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

In Mercer County, Collins organized the Louisville Coal & Coke Company, one of the first mines to ship coal on the Norfolk and Western Railway. In 1893, he opened Collins Colliery at Glen Jean in Fayette County. About the same time, he started Greenbrier Coal & Coke and later opened the Whipple mine near Mount Hope.

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year.

A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough.

They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running.

Environmentalists and the Pocahontas Land Corp. have agreed to settle a lawsuit over coal mine drainage into streams in southern West Virginia.

The environmental groups say Pocahontas' former White Flame mountaintop-removal mine in Mingo County continues to discharge selenium, dissolved solids, sulfates and other pollutants into tributaries of the Tug Fork River.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Just months after emerging from bankruptcy, Alpha Natural Resources has revealed $100 million in what it calls "unaccounted for obligations," causing West Virginia regulators to worry that the burden puts the company at further risk of financial failure.

 

The Alpha disclosure, made in a recent bankruptcy court filing, has increased fears about there being adequate money available to complete proper reclamation on hundreds of Alpha mining permits across West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

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