An old coal processing plant stands outside of Jackson. Politicians have promised to save coal, but its decline has been underway for decades, failing to compete with natural gas, a cheaper and cleaner-burning energy source made abundant by advances in fracking technology. And while environmental regulations have depressed the coal industry, the Trump administration’s recent rollback of Obama-era rules on power-plant emissions won’t save it. Coal prices are too low, and extraction costs are too high.
Born of Water:
Coal mining sustained families for generations along the Kentucky River water basin. But today, many confront a crisis of faith in an industry that has left the region environmentally and economically vulnerable.