"Uncertain Future For US Towns Built on Coal"

"Appalachian coal producers worry about new environmental laws as poverty and pollution rise in some mining regions."

"Welch, West Virginia -- Calling for the United States to lead the 'path towards sustainable energy', President Obama came out strong on climate change during his second inaugural address on January 21. The administration will likely redouble its efforts to limit emissions from coal-burning power plants, regulations that could force many to close.

One week earlier in West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vowed to protect a different kind of climate in his inaugural speech -- the state's job climate.

'I will continue to protect and increase the production of coal,' Tomblin declared, explaining later in the speech that he intended to '[fight] the federal government to get off our backs and out of our way'.

While Tomblin and the powerful coal lobby battle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, the other front line is the Appalachian coalfields themselves."

Roopa Gogineni reports for Aljazeera January 30, 2013.

Source: Aljazeera, 02/01/2013