In Appalachia, Audio, coal, Economic Transition on March 16, 2015 at 10:49 am
Since the days when mules carted coal and miners were paid in company credit, coal has certainly been king in Central Appalachia. But now, in a trend not widely noted outside the region, far fewer people make a living in mining there. West Virginia, for example, had 132,000 miners in 1950. Today there are fewer than 20,000, and that number is falling. Nearly every day, Appalachians awake to news of mass layoffs and mine closures.
It’s no one thing. There is cheap and newly-abundant natural gas. Limits on coal-burning power plants. Increased competition from Wyoming, where coal is cheaper to mine and lower in polluting sulfur. And finally, after over 100 years of intensive mining, Appalachia’s coal seams are simply becoming mined out.
Producer Catherine Moore has witnessed this moment. She travelled the back roads of West Virginia from county to county, like Logan, where about 130 laid off miners from Patriot Coal gathered with their families for an emergency meeting held by the state’s workforce development program. Each miner was given a booklet called Surviving a Layoff. Inside, how to write a resume, give a good interview. But something else caught Catherine up short.
EXCERPTED FROM “Moving On But No Way Gone: Coal in America,” A 30-MINUTE RADIO DOCUMENTARY COMMISSIONED BY HIGH PLAINS NEWS, AIRING NATIONALLY SPRING 2015.
In Appalachia, Photography on January 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm
Psyched to report that a photo I took of my friend Tyler Cannon in Fairmont, WV, was chosen to be included in the Looking at Appalachia archive for 2014. If you haven’t checked out this project, go there right now!
In Appalachia, Audio, Current Projects, Fayette County, Paint Creek on October 10, 2014 at 11:32 am
Excited to present the first rough cut of the first piece of The Paint Creek Audio History Tour–a collection of tales about a storied place called Paint Creek, WV, from the voices of people who live along its banks. The history tour will be available via a GPS-activated mobile app and a website, coming in summer of 2015. The project is supported by the WV Humanities Council and the National Coal Heritage Area Authority.
In this segment, Pax native Howard Hughes–one of the founders and leaders of the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association–tells of the bane of his youthful existence. Howard’s great-great grandfather, a surveyor, founded Pax. Howard’s grandfather was an accomplished stone mason who built many beautiful structures still standing today. His father was a hard-working coal miner who helped fuel American industry during WWII. And Howard, well, Howard built something too.
Produced by Catherine Moore & Jessie Wright-Mendoza. Edited by Catherine Moore.