Rural Economy

How a Carbon Tax Could End Some Coal Towns, or Fund a New Future

21 hours ago
Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

Declining coal tax revenues place coal-reliant counties in Appalachia at risk of fiscal collapse, according to new research from the centrist Brookings Institution and Columbia University. Policies designed to prevent further climate change would accelerate that decline, the report found, but could also provide a new stream of revenue to help communities rebound from coal’s demise.

Minimum Wage Hike Would Have Major Effect in Ohio Valley

Jul 10, 2019
students and other supporters protest in 2015 on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, in support of raising the minimum wage for campus workers to $15 an hour.
AP file photo

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the wages of 17 million workers and lift about 1.3 million people out of poverty. But the CBO warns that could also result in more than one million lost jobs and could diminish overall income for others.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the state’s growing natural gas industry has expanded beyond drilling rigs during the past few years. Two multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline projects are under construction in West Virginia. If completed, they will transport billions of cubic feet of natural gas out of the Appalachian Basin to the East Coast.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in nearly one third of Ohio Valley counties, low-income residents are paying 20 percent or more of their income in utility bills. Energy costs are making housing harder to afford in some rural places where incomes are not keeping pace with rising costs. As part of a series on rural housing, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Sydney Boles takes us to eastern Kentucky, where the cost burden is among the highest. She found a community working to keep their old Kentucky homes affordable.

Ohio Valley Farmers Unsure About New Trump Trade Aid Payments

May 24, 2019
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

The U. S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday details of a second round of aid totaling $16 billion for farmers affected by the trade war with China. But some Ohio Valley farmers worry about the ongoing consequences of these payments and tariffs.

Hemp seeds
Kristen Wyatt / Associated Press

A U.S. attorney is suing a West Virginia hemp farm and others, saying they violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart has sued Matthew Mallory of CAMO Hemp WV, and Gary Kale of Grassy Run Farms. Grassy Run Farms owns the land, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Saturday.

In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, beekeeper Constantine Chlepas sits on a section of downed trees on the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline near his property in Lindside, W.Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

George Jones was against the Mountain Valley Pipeline from the start.

The natural gas pipeline is routed to run through the southwest Virginia farm his family has owned for seven generations. The 88-year-old Navy veteran never considered signing an easement agreement with the developers, because he thought the whole thing seemed an affront to his property rights. But state law meant he couldn’t even keep surveyors out.

Are Black Walnuts Ready to Boom?

Nov 12, 2017
The front door of Gerlach Farm and Feed in Wheelersburg, Ohio advertises the start of the black walnut season. Hulling stations earn a commission of $0.05 per pound of black walnuts hulled, providing a good incentive for them to get the word out in their
Eileen Guo / 100 Days in Appalachia

The first car arrives over two hours before the hulling station officially opens in Jeffersonville, Kentucky. By the time that Renee Zaharie appears and starts the hulling machine, four more vehicles have pulled in and are waiting under the darkening evening sky.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, October was black walnut season in Appalachia. It’s when these green, tennis ball-sized nuts rain onto fields, roads, and sometimes, people. They can be dangerous. And their inky juice stains everything they touch.

But for some Appalachians, As Eileen Guo reports, black walnuts are proof that, sometimes, money does grow on trees.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the number of coal mining jobs continues to decline in central Appalachia, hemp is getting a lot of attention as one way to diversify eastern Kentucky’s post-coal economy. But the region’s growing hemp industry is riddled with uncertainty.

The lack of land suitable for growing hemp and its association with marijuana pose significant challenges. Rachel Cramer, from our partners at WGBH and The GroundTruth Project, has that story.

Izzy Broomfield

Nearly half of the people living in rural parts of United States don’t have access to broadband internet, the high-speed connection required for common uses many of us take for granted. Government and survey data show that in 65 counties across Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, most residents don’t have access to broadband -- that’s a quarter of all the counties in the three states.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new report indicates that West Virginia is in an economic recession.

The Register-Herald reports that the Mountain State Business Index has found that West Virginia has seen deterioration in economic activities since the spring of 2015.

The economic recession has been largely a result of the decline in the coal industry. The index found that in March there was a 3.1 percent month-to-month decline in coal production. It also found that there were month-to-month gains registered for natural gas production.

Rural Towns Need Broadband Access

Nov 19, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Beth Vorhees talks with two reporters from West Virginia Focus magazine about their articles in the most recent issue.  What does a town do when the company that employs hundreds leaves and the difficulty of broadband access.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

WVNS-TV

This week on Inside Appalachia, we hear from first generation college students, like Savanna Lusk, the daughter of an underground coal miner and Logan Bays the son of a former surface miner. Host Jessica Lilly spoke on WVNS-TV Morning Show, previewing this week's episode.

Alpha Natural Resources

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has told 292 workers in Virginia and Kentucky they are losing their jobs.

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey / West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection hosted a public hearing in Charleston to discuss a new air quality permit for natural gas facilities in the state. Some wish the DEP would use the permit writing process to incorporate suggestions from scientists who have studied air around gas facilities.


Catherine Moore

Early one morning this past January, two Clay County school busses pulled up at the state capitol complex in Charleston. Inside were members of the group “What’s Next, Clay County?”, one of twenty-five communities across the state that is organizing to strengthen their local economy as a part of the “What’s Next, WV?” initiative. 

Over seventy people attended their first community meeting last fall—not a small feat in a community of their size. They chose five areas to focus their work: youth and education; infrastructure; small business; drugs; and cleaning up trash and dilapidated properties.

http://www.coalheritage.org/

  An annual spring lecture series that explores the heritage of the coal industry kicks off the first week of February with featured musicians and poets.  

Before/After screen capture of the Mark West Plant, a major mid-stream gas processing plant that's in the middle of construction in Doddridge County.
WV Host Farms

Nuisance and negligence lawsuits have been filed this year throughout West Virginia related to horizontal drilling activities. Noise, air, and water pollution, traffic and debris are among complaints. It’s a new industrial world for many West Virginians living in the growing rural gas fields.  

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Bloomery Sweetshine Distillery located in Jefferson County has attracted around 50,000 tourists since it opened in 2011. While Jefferson County has been called the leader in tourism and economic impact in the state, some say the rural economy is struggling, and this distillery could be helping to revive it.