On this West Virginia Morning, the central Appalachian coalfields are in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of severe black lung disease. A recent medical study confirmed a cluster of more than 400 cases of the most severe form of black lung at just a few clinics, and an investigation by NPR and the Ohio Valley ReSource identified nearly 2,000 cases across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. The condition, caused by coal mine dust, is often debilitating and deadly. Reporter Benny Becker brings us the stories of two men struggling with the disease.
The Marcellus shale industry is moving into some of Pittsburgh’s biggest suburbs, and as it does so, it’s rekindling a debate about the risks and rewards of drilling. Reporting for StateImpact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier found that suburbanites and elected officials now have to decide what to do about fracking in their backyards.