After Coal

The booms and busts of the coal economy have been a way of life in Appalachia for nearly a hundred years. Despite promises that it will rise again, many in central Appalachia see the writing on the wall. 

But what about all of that land? 

Appalachian Voices

People in southwestern Virginia have been working to move beyond the coal economy that’s dominated the region for a hundred years. They’re building new businesses, literally atop the old, by repurposing abandoned coal mines.  One limit to that effort has been money. That is, until last week, when Congress voted to give Virginia $10 million toward those efforts. Robbie Harris reports.

MountainRose Vineyards Facebook/Let's See America

In central Appalachia, coal has not only been the main economic driver for nearly a hundred years, it’s also been an important part of the culture.

In Part 3 of our series on what’s next for abandoned mine land in Wise County, Virginia, Robbie Harris takes us to a boutique vineyard in Wise County that honors its roots as it looks to future growth.

Creative Commons/Eli Christman

Like all fossil fuels, coal is a finite resource. There comes a point, though, when a mine is tapped out and must be closed. For centuries, most were just left abandoned. Then in 1977, a federal law levied a fee on mining companies to help cover costs of reclaiming former mine land. And going forward, it made that the responsibility of mine owners.

But as Robbie Harris tells us in part two of her series on abandoned coal mines, that doesn’t always happen.

Adam Wells

The booms and busts of the coal economy have been a way of life in Appalachia for nearly a hundred years. Despite promises that it will rise again, many in central Appalachia see the writing on the wall.

In the first part of our series, Robbie Harris takes us to Norton, Virginia where abandoned mines dominate the landscape, begging the question…what’s next?