Coal

James C. Justice III, left, watches his father’s inauguration as governor. He has assumed control of some Justice family companies.
Office of the WV Governor, via Flickr

The Justice family companies’ difficulties paying taxes over the years are well documented. But tax collectors haven’t been the only ones trying to recover debts from companies once operated by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and now in control of his family.

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Coal miners and their families in Appalachia take great pride in their work and the fellowship that surrounds coal mining. As Jeremy Brock, one former Kentucky coal miner, put it: "It's a culture. It's a brotherhood."

“Once you get used to it, I wouldn’t do nothing else," he told the documentary project, Humans of Central Appalachia, in 2016.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump picked West Virginia as the place to announce he'd roll back pollution rules for coal-fired power plants. But he didn't mention that coal country would be hit the hardest by the health impacts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when President Trump visited West Virginia last week, he hailed his administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule as something that will fuel a coal comeback. 
The rule replaces an Obama-era regulation intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 
But as Brittany Patterson reports, industry experts say they don’t expect Trump’s new plan to change coal’s fortunes in the Ohio Valley -- and the administration’s own analysis agrees.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

At a campaign rally in Charleston for state attorney general and senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, President Donald Trump touted the coal industry’s comeback in West Virginia.

“And it is really happening -- we are back,” Trump told the cheering crowd, many of whom were sporting hard hats and carrying “Trump Digs Coal” signs. “The coal industry is back.”

EPA Moves To Dramatically Cut Regulation of Coal Power

Aug 21, 2018
Adobe Stock

The Trump administration moved to dismantle another major piece of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy on Tuesday, proposing to dramatically scale back restrictions on climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants even as it acknowledged that could lead to more premature deaths and serious illnesses.

Appalachian Regional Commission

A new economic report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that across Appalachia, communities are starting to rebound. But in West Virginia, that’s not the case. 


Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

The federal agency that oversees mining safety is holding public stakeholder meetings in six states, including West Virginia.

One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung. That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

A coal waste plant at risk of shutting down in West Virginia is hoping to stay open through state proceedings.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Grant Town Power Plant's owner, American Bituminous Power Partners, has teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, according to company filings.

Carol Guzy/ NPR

Can Trump bring coal jobs back to Appalachia? We’re a year-and-a-half into his presidency, and some people, like coal operator Barry Estep, are hopeful.

“Maybe this is a light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been hoping for, to get things turned around and changed some.”

But others are not so sure that coal has a long-term future. 


Adobe Stock

A 43-yr-old coal miner from Barbour County died Tuesday after sustaining injuries in a Randolph County mining accident. 

Ronald R. Taylor was a shuttle car operator at the Carter Roag Coal Company, Morgan Camp Mine in Randolph County. 


A new government report says that the federal black lung trust fund that helps sick and dying coal miners pay living and medical expenses could incur a $15 billion deficit in the next 30 years. That's if a congressionally mandated funding cut occurs as planned at the end of the year.

President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants.

CSX train derailment, April 16, 2018, Fayette County.
Courtesy Photo

This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.

Updated Tuesday, April 17 at 12:06 p.m.

New River Gorge National River spokeswoman Julena Campbell said in a news release the engine that derailed landed on its side near the New River.

She said no diesel fuel spilled and that crews are working to remove 5,000 gallons of fuel from the locomotive. CSX stated the ten derailed cars remained upright.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal report says the wall that crushed a miner to death in West Virginia earlier this year wasn't properly supported.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcast

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll learn more about how our reliance on coal and other extractive industries have affected our region’s economy.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez / Associated Press

As temperatures plunged during the 12-day cold snap that hit just after Christmas, many people across the East Coast reached for their thermostats, which increased demand for electricity.

 

 

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.

New Study Says Pace of Coal Plant Closures Insufficient to Stop Climate Change

Mar 22, 2018
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press

Coal plant closures are expected to outpace new construction for the first time in the modern era by 2022, but that still might not be enough to meet international emission reduction goals intended to fend off the worst anticipated impacts of climate change.

comedian John Oliver performs at the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York. A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against HBO host John Oliver brought by coal company Murray Energy.
Brent N. Clarke / AP file photo

A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy against HBO host John Oliver.

A segment of Oliver’s Sunday show “Last Week Tonight” in June poked fun at Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry. Oliver said the 77-year-old looked like a “geriatric Dr. Evil.”

President Trump made coal jobs a core of his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to bring back "beautiful" coal despite the industry's decades-long decline. And in pockets of the U.S. during Trump's first year in office, it may well have felt like a turnaround was underway.

A review of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies.

Public Domain

WVPB/ Janet Kunicki

Gwynn Guilford is a reporter for Quartz, a business news site. She specializes in writing about the economy. Guilford spent 10 months researching Appalachia’s economy for an article called “The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal”. Guilford dug into the history of the region’s economic ties to the coal industry, and the long-term effects this relationship has had on the people who live and are determined to stay in Appalachia.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Roxy Todd spoke with Guilford about her report.


AllVoices.com

Authorities say a coal miner has been killed at an underground mine in northern West Virginia.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the incident occurred shortly before 4 a.m. Tuesday at Wolf Run Mining LLC's Sentinel mine in Barbour County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you stories from the GOP retreat at the Greenbrier Resort and another installment of our week-long Appalachian Innovators series.

wikimedia commons/Magnolia677

Attorneys for 16 Wyoming County families who accused a coal company of contaminating their water asked the state’s highest court Wednesday, Jan. 24, for another chance to prove their case.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

A second man has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 15 years in the fatal shooting of a coal executive at a West Virginia cemetery.

News outlets report Mingo Circuit Judge Miki Thompson handed down the sentence Thursday for 20-year-old Brandon Lee Fitzpatrick, of Louisa, Kentucky. Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty last month in the killing of Bennett K. Hatfield, who was shot while visiting his wife's gravesite in May 2016.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A former coal company CEO who served a one-year prison term on charges related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades is kicking off his U.S. Senate campaign with a town hall meeting for voters.

Ex-Massey Energy boss Don Blankenship is scheduled to attend the meeting Thursday night at the Chief Logan Lodge, Hotel and Conference Center in Logan. Blankenship has said he wants to tell voters why he's the best candidate. A news conference is planned afterward.

January 12, 1880: W.Va. National Guard Puts Down the First Coal Strike

Jan 12, 2018
Photo of coal miners in West Virginia, 1908
Wikimedia commons

On January 12, 1880, West Virginia National Guard troops arrived at Hawks Nest in Fayette County to put down one of the state’s first coal strikes. The strike started at Montgomery when coal operators told their union miners that nonunion competition from the nearby Hawks Nest mines was hurting business.

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