"Scenes from the end of coal: A blasted mountaintop in Kentucky, an underground inferno in Pennsylvania, slowly dying maples in New Hampshire and a toxic pile of waste in Florida."
"HAROLD, Ky.—Along the winding, two lane road that leads to Tracy Neece’s mountain, there’s no hint of the huge scars in the hills beyond the oaks and the pines.
Green forests cover steep slopes on each side of the road, which turns from blacktop to dusty gravel. Modest homes are nestled into the bottomlands along a creek with gardens that grow corn and zucchini under a hot summer sun.
The first sign of the devastation above is a glimpse of a treeless mesa, a landform more appropriate in the West.
As Neece navigates his Ford F-150 pickup truck past an abandoned security booth, he drives into a barren expanse. The forest is gone, replaced by grasses. The tops and sides of entire mountains have been blasted away by dynamite.
Neece stops at about 1,000 feet above the hollow to look at what is left of his mountain, where a coal mining company walked away and left sheer cliffs, exposed and dangerous, after miners gouged the black bituminous coal out of the mountainside with huge earth moving machines."