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.
Feds: 2nd WV mine water tester to admit lying on reports

Feds: 2nd WV mine water tester to admit lying on reports

A second former employee of a Raleigh County water testing laboratory is expected to plead guilty to his role in a scheme to falsify water pollution samples for coal-mining operations across Southern West Virginia, federal prosecutors revealed in...

Senate panel approves UMW pension legislation

Senate panel approves UMW pension legislation

Members of a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday morning approved legislation aimed at preserving the health care benefits and pensions for thousands of union coal miners and their families.

National Academy: US needs ‘price on pollution’ to spur clean energy

National Academy: US needs ‘price on pollution’ to spur clean energy

The United States needs to adopt a policy that sets a “price on pollution” to accelerate the transition to “increasingly clean energy” sources, combating climate change and adverse health and...

Interior drops appeal in Blair Mountain case

Interior drops appeal in Blair Mountain case

Obama administration lawyers on Tuesday dropped their appeal of a federal court ruling that said the Interior Department was wrong to remove the site of the Blair Mountain labor battle from the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

EPA veto of WV mountaintop removal permit upheld again

EPA veto of WV mountaintop removal permit upheld again

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of a permit for one of the largest mountaintop removal coal-mining proposals in West Virginia history.

Alpha deal will fund mine cleanup projects

Alpha deal will fund mine cleanup projects

Alpha Natural Resources will spend millions of dollars partnering with a new nonprofit organization on pilot projects aimed at finding ways to clean up scarred land and polluted water left behind by mountaintop removal mining, under a bankruptcy court ...

Capito, Manchin secure hope for vote on UMW pension bill

Capito, Manchin secure hope for vote on UMW pension bill

The United Mine Workers union is praising an agreement in the U.S. Senate that may pave the way for action on legislation aimed at rescuing troubled union pension and retiree health-care plans that cover tens of thousands of retired miners and family...

DEP says it has reclamation deal with bankrupt Alpha

DEP says it has reclamation deal with bankrupt Alpha

Bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources has agreed to post an additional $100 million in reclamation bonds and $39 million in letters of credit or cash to assure the proper cleanup of mine sites across West Virginia’s coalfields, under a new agreement ...

Judge tries to pinpoint mine pollution treatment options

Judge tries to pinpoint mine pollution treatment options

A federal judge says he needs more information before he can pinpoint the type of treatment to order a coal company to use to clean up two streams along the Clay-Nicholas County border that were polluted by mountaintop removal mining.

Tomblin resurrects DEP rules bill

Tomblin resurrects DEP rules bill

A dozen days into a special session on West Virginia’s budget crisis, the Tomblin administration on Wednesday resurrected a broad-ranging environmental rules bill that lawmakers ...

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...


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