Reckoning in coal country
Lessons from Wyoming and Appalachia on planning for a future without coal
About the project
From the hills of West Virginia to the wind-swept prairies of Campbell County, Wyoming, journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer explore the cultural, political and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal.
Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund.
Panel discussion: Facing the future in Wyoming and Appalachia
Fresh Energy, Energy News Network, and WyoFile hosted a virtual panel discussion on April 22, 2021, to discuss what’s next for coal country in Wyoming and Appalachia. The conversation featured journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer, Shannon Anderson of the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Wyoming, and Heidi Binko of the Just Transition Fund in Virginia, and was moderated by Energy News Network Director Ken Paulman. Watch the recorded panel below.
About the authors
Mason Adams has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. Born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism. He lives in Floyd County, Virginia.
Dustin Bleizeffer has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily covering the energy industry in Wyoming. He was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and also served as WyoFile’s editor-in-chief. He lives in Casper, Wyoming.
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Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. While the story continues to unfold, Reckoning in Coal Country provides a snapshot of these communities at a critical inflection point in American history.
Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund, Reckoning in Coal Country is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the challenges faced by rural communities in the transition away from fossil fuels.
What’s next for coal country?
Coal communities in Appalachia and Wyoming are vital revenue engines for huge portions of the rural U.S., and they face devastation with little time to adjust to new realities.Keep reading
Coal country faces a healthcare crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has hammered healthcare systems for rural populations already struggling with the loss of coal jobs and health coverage.Keep reading
Coal communities increasingly rely on federal health programs
Coal’s decline has forced staunchly anti-Obamacare politicians to reconsider Medicaid expansion, while rural communities depend on telehealth more than ever.Keep reading
Reckoning in coal country: How lax fiscal policy has left states flat-footed as mining declines
What happens when a $28.6 billion industry spirals into permanent decline?Keep reading
Coal country envisions paths forward in manufacturing, reclamation and renewables
Communities contemplate how to survive a post-extraction economy.Keep reading
Survival is anything but certain for coal country
Coal country is not without options. But coal’s long legacy of hope, promises and failure has instilled a political inertia that won’t soon be overcome.Keep reading