The decline of coal mining is a blessing to some and a curse to others. And when it comes to what’s known as ‘mountain top removal’ the disagreement runs even deeper. Appalachia is ground zero for this form of surface coal mining. And while it’s only a small percentage of all coal mining, opponents are calling for it to stop.
“Appalachia has so much potential, but we can’t realize that potential if we continue to poison our water and destroy our mountains."
Even though mountain top removal mining has been on the decline since 2008, the effects on people living in coal mined areas, is not. A new tool tracks the impact on communities over time and shows where it’s been greatest.
For more than a century, coal companies here in Virginia have been transforming wooded hillsides -- strip mining more than a million acres of land in Central Appalachia.
They're required to restore those sites, but environmentalists aren't always happy with the results, and area residents find no economic use for the land. Now, however, there's something new happening on old mining sites.
There’s a new controversy brewing - one that could mean trouble for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. It involves a lawsuit on behalf of landowners in Southwestern Virginia.
They claim two energy companies failed to pay them royalties on methane gas wells. One of those firms has given $100,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign - and now a judge in the case says she’s shocked by e-mails from the attorney general’s office to those energy companies. Sandy Hausman reports on the history of the case.