Mining the Mountains

In West Virginia, mining companies are literally moving mountains to uncover valuable, low sulfur coal reserves. Mountaintop removal has become the dominant form of surface mining in the state. Coal operators are blasting off hilltops, and dumping leftover rock and dirt into nearby valleys. An untold amount of the state has been flattened, and hundreds of miles of streams have been buried. Find out more in this Special Report.

Another lab employee charged in water testing scheme

Another employee of a Raleigh County laboratory was charged Tuesday with taking part in a scheme to falsify water pollution testing at coal-mining operations across Southern West Virginia.

Water pollution trial winding down against Justice company

Water pollution trial winding down against Justice company

PINEVILLE, W.Va. — With West Virginia’s primary election just days away, a local jury is set to decide whether a coal company owned by Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Jim Justice contaminated the...

DEP report: WV emissions plan has little impact on coal’s future

DEP report: WV emissions plan has little impact on coal’s future

West Virginia regulators and lawmakers have limited ability to blunt any impact that the Obama administration’s greenhouse emissions reduction plan would have on the coal industry, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a much-...

Court vacates Blair Mountain delisting from Historic Places registry

Court vacates Blair Mountain delisting from Historic Places registry

A federal judge in Washington on Monday ruled that the U.S. Interior Department was wrong when it removed the site of the Blair Mountain labor battle from the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Alpha seeks court OK to break UMW contract

Lawyers for Alpha Natural Resources are asking a federal bankruptcy judge to allow the company to break its contract with the United Mine Workers union as part of an effort to reorganize its finances and survive the ongoing decline in the...

Focus on Clinton comments obscures WV coalfield challenges

Focus on Clinton comments obscures WV coalfield challenges

While coalfield political leaders and industry officials spent much of the week attacking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s ...

Peabody Energy warns of bankruptcy

Peabody Energy warns of bankruptcy

The nation’s top coal producer, Peabody Energy, warned Wednesday that it might be headed for bankruptcy, in a move that again emphasizes the continuing troubles faced by the U.S. mining industry.

DEP rules bill dies in dispute over EPA wood stove efficiency regulation

DEP rules bill dies in dispute over EPA wood stove efficiency regulation

A wide variety of state Department of Environmental Protection rule changes — including new safety standards for chemical storage tanks near drinking water...

DEP’s Huffman: Focus on how to deal with climate change

DEP’s Huffman: Focus on how to deal with climate change

The nation should be focused on how to do something about global warming, not continuing to bicker about whether the climate is really changing, state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman said Wednesday during a U.S. Senate...

DEP’s Huffman blasts Obama administration’s EPA

DEP’s Huffman blasts Obama administration’s EPA

Federal regulators are wrongly pressuring West Virginia environmental officials on air quality and water pollution issues in an effort to “totally remake the American regulatory landscape,” state Department of Environmental Protection...

EPA questions water rule changes pending in Senate

As a pair of water quality changes sought by the coal industry moves through the Legislature, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cautioning state regulators that it believes West Virginia's standards may not be strong enough.

Chinese demand, metallurgical coal prices helped push mining’s decline

Plummeting prices for steel-making coal and greatly reduced demand for that coal in China have played a far greater role in the decline in the Appalachian mining industry than is often explained publicly, according to a new...

Obama carbon rules at issue in Supreme Court turmoil

Obama carbon rules at issue in Supreme Court turmoil

Among the major cases whose fate might have changed with the death Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is one that’s being closely followed by West Virginia’s coal industry and its allies: challenges by coalfield politicians and mining...

Justices’ ruling may slow, but won’t stop, coal’s decline

Justices’ ruling may slow, but won’t stop, coal’s decline

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that at least temporarily blocks the Obama administration’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants might serve to slow some changes to the nation’s energy mix, but experts say it...

Obama budget includes proposed help for coalfields

Obama budget includes proposed help for coalfields

President Obama’s proposed spending plan for the next government budget yet again includes programs aimed at helping the economy in coalfield communities that are struggling as the mining industry continues to decline.

Study details how mining has flattened WV

Study details how mining has flattened WV

Decades of mountaintop removal have left the coalfields of West Virginia nearly 40 percent flatter than they once were, according to a new scientific study that tries to provide a clearer picture of the long-term impacts of large-scale surface coal...

Tomblin proposal for Hobet mine site development a long way from reality

Tomblin proposal for Hobet mine site development a long way from reality

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s ambitious proposal to develop “the largest industrial site in West Virginia history” at the...

Obama plans to renew push for coalfield aid

Obama plans to renew push for coalfield aid

The Obama administration said Friday that it plans to renew its push to send federal financial help to create jobs and plan economic diversification programs for coalfield communities struggling with mounting job losses as the nation’s energy...

Groups challenge DEP-Alpha reclamation bond deal

A proposed deal between the state Department of Environmental Protection and bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources falls more than $200...

Judge weighing options on Fola Coal mine pollution

A federal judge is considering his options for forcing Fola Coal to reduce the conductivity pollution from surface mine sites in Clay and Nicholas counties, according to an order released this week.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers said he ...

Water lab gets DEP license back as federal probe stalls

Goodwin says fed probe of lab that faked coal-industry water tests not finished

Highlands conference seeks continued focus on climate change

Scientists, public-policy experts, lawyers and environmental activists will be gathering again next month in West Virginia’s Allegheny Highlands to try to focus the state’s attention on climate change and what local citizens and leaders...

Regulators, citizens increasingly concerned about Patriot Coal bankruptcy deals

West Virginia government regulators and a coalition of citizen groups are convinced that plans to sell off the operations of bankrupt Patriot Coal won’t provide adequate funding for land reclamation and longterm water pollution cleanup at...

Va. group proposes to buy, clean up Patriot Coal sites

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Virginia conservation organization is proposing to buy and clean up bankrupt Patriot Coal’s most troubled mine sites in an unusual move that involves assuming more than $400 million in land reclamation obligations...


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