Stories from The Allegheny Front archived under


In Coal Country, What's Next for Miners?

Faced with competition from natural gas and increasing federal regulations, the coal industry is facing tough times. Layoffs and mine closings are becoming more and more common in parts of West Virginia and Kentucky.

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Appalachian Writer on the Double-edged Sword of Coal

Writer Silas House grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. He’s described life in coal country through rich, complex characters steeped in history and tradition. He's also an activist in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining.

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In Kentucky, A Prairie Made by Coal

Coal is in a long decline in Central Appalachia. Coal mining jobs are disappearing there—but the imprint of coal on the landscape is everywhere. More than a million acres of strip-mined land—an area the size of Rhode Island—are now deforested.

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Cleaning Up Coal's Legacy of Fires and Landslides

There are thousands of old, problem mines—called pre-law mines—throughout Appalachia. They come with a bevy of issues—they fill up with water, cause landslides, and catch fire.

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Federal Regulations Drive the Past and Future of Coal

In 1970, a federal act called the Clean Air Act brought Wyoming a surge in its low-sulfur coal industry. Today, coal miners in the state wait to hear about new regulations that could make or break their local economy.

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In the West, Coal's Boom Resonates Across the Land

If the coal industry has started to leave Appalachia, the American West is now coal’s new home base. In America’s current capital of coal—Wyoming's Powder River Basin—the industry’s imprint on the West runs deep.

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Breathe Cam Empowers Citizens to Track Air Pollution

Pittsburgh’s air quality is consistently rated some of the worst in the nation, because of industry, transportation and its unique topography. But new technology called Breathe Cam is trying to give area residents a tool to monitor—and help solve—air quality problems. 

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No Place Like a Passive Home

Sometimes the best way to be active about the environment is to use some passive practices. Lucy De Barbaro and her husband are currently constructing a new, enery-efficient passive house in Pittsburgh.

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Measuring the Climate Trade-off Between Coal and Natural Gas

President Obama's Clean Power Plan, to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants, relies heavily on replacing coal plants with natural gas. But natural gas comes with it’s own climate problems: methane.

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