Appalachian Economic Diversification Effort Runs Into Roadblocks


On this West Virginia Morning, Appalachia’s coal country is struggling to diversify its local economies amid the sharp declines in employment at mines and power plants. An eastern Kentucky organization called SOAR, or “Shaping Our Appalachian Region,” is trying to help.

The group is betting big on high-speed internet and industrial development. But as the Ohio Valley ReSource’s Sydney Boles reports, those are proving tough items to deliver in the rural, coal mining region.

Also on today’s show, landfills in many states like West Virginia accept solid waste from the oil and gas industry. When it rains, chemicals, toxic metals and even radioactive material in that waste become part of the landfill’s runoff. That runoff is supposed to be treated before it’s sent to a sewage plant, but earlier this year, some of these pollutants in Pennsylvania started ending up in water released by a sewage treatment plant near Pittsburgh.

For StateImpact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier found a loophole in state and federal regulations that may explain how that happened. 

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