Previous efforts to restore former coal mine sites in Appalachia have left behind vast swaths of unproductive land. Now, a group of nonprofits and scientists are working to restore native trees to the region — even if it means starting the reclamation process from scratch.

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WEIRTON — With three signed letters of intent already in his back pocket, Pat Ford said the old Follansbee Steel site in Brooke County could soon be off his “available properties” list.

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This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

It’s a sunny October day on the outskirts of the west German town of Bottrop. A quiet, two-lane road leads me through farm pasture to a cluster of anonymous, low-lying buildings set among the trees. The highway hums in the distance. Looming above everything else is a green A-frame structure with four great pulley wheels to carry men and equipment into a mine shaft. It’s the only visible sign that, almost three quarters of a mile below, Germany’s last hard coal lies beneath this spot.

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Editor’s note: This story is part of Crossing the Divide, a cross-country reporting road trip from The GroundTruth Project and WGBH. The team of five reporters is exploring issues that divide us and stories that unite us. Follow their trip across America at xthedivide.org.

PIKEVILLE — Silicon Valley, meet Appalachian Mountains.

In Eastern Kentucky, in the heart of rural Appalachia and amid the coal-dust remnants of the Industrial Revolution, a nascent digital revolution is taking shape. After the rapid decline of the coal industry, Eastern Kentuckians are attempting to diversify the region’s economy, but limited access to broadband internet poses a significant challenge.

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11.07.17


A new paper by three economists, published Thursday in the journal Science, challenges how the Environmental Protection Agency has justified repealing a 2015 water protection rule and contends that the Trump administration ignored hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits the regulation would have produced each year.

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Three prominent, regional news organizations have come together today to launch a project that will provide deeper news coverage for local communities in the coal fields of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

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