UPDATE on INSIDE APPALACHIA ~ Coal Mining Jobs in the Balance

by Duane Nichols on January 9, 2022

Larry Groce and Kathy Mattea of ‘Mountain Stage’ Radio Program

“Amid Coal’s Decline, What Comes Next for Appalachia”

Broadcast and Podcast from West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB), January 7, 2022

People in coal country are pleading for help as coal’s decline accelerates. This week on Inside Appalachia, we explore the economic and health impacts coal has had on coal communities in Appalachia. We’ll talk about the past and the future of this industry, through the lens of its labor history, to the climate crisis. And we’ll hear from members of Indigenous communities on how they feel about the future of coal.

Coal’s been in slow decline here for decades, but really accelerated in the last 10 years. That’s meant hard times for communities that have long relied on it for jobs and taxes. There are sixty six percent fewer jobs today in West Virginia coal mining now than there were 50 years ago — and experts don’t predict a comeback. But we’re not alone; other places around the world face similar dilemmas. We learn what people in West Germany did fifty years ago – when coal executives and political leaders had to make tough decisions when it came to the future of coal, and their home.

What Is The Future For Appalachia’s Power Plants?

Lawmakers across our country and the world are debating the future of our energy policy. Scientists agree, to prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must significantly reduce our carbon emissions, and we have to do it quickly.

For much of the world, the answer is to phase out coal, but the issue is political and complicated. Kentucky is one of those places that’s starting to shift away from coal — in a way that West Virginia is not. Curtis Tate is a reporter here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting who covers energy and the environment and he’s been tracking this story. Inside Appalachia producer, Roxy Todd, spoke with Tate about where Kentucky and West Virginia are headed. Are we going to continue to produce electricity from coal, and for how long?

Affiliate Stations — To find your local station:

Allegheny Mountain Radio in Frost, West Virginia, WVMR – Saturday 7 am
WETS, Johnson City, Tennessee – Sunday 6 pm
Morehead State Public Radio in Morehead, Kentucky, Saturday 6 a.m. and Sunday 11 am
Appalshop Mountain Community Radio, WMMT in Whitesburg, KY, Sun. 11 am & Tue. 6 pm
WEKU Richmond, Kentucky – Saturday 6 am and Sunday 7 pm
WSHC Shepherdstown, West Virginia – Sunday 9 am
WUOT-2, Knoxville, Tennessee – Tuesday 7 pm
WVCU Athens, West Virginia – Wednesday 5 pm
West Virginia Public Broadcasting – Sunday at 7 am and 6 pm
WMOV Ravenswood, West Virginia – Saturday at 8:00 am
WUTC and WUTC-HD1, Chattanooga, TN – Saturday at 1 pm
Radio IQ Roanoke, Virginia – Sunday at 6 pm
Blue Ridge Public Radio, Asheville, North Carolina – Sunday at 2 pm

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