Making Energy

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Legacy of Coal: Prairies From Kentucky Mountains

Patrick Angel, of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, and Mike French, of Green Forests Work, planting a tree at a former Eastern Kentucky surface mine.

Coal is in a long decline in Central Appalachia. Even though coal mining jobs are disappearing there-the imprint of coal on the landscape is everywhere. More than a million acres of strip-mined land -- an area the size of Rhode Island -- are now deforested. As part of a reporting project from The Allegheny Front on the future of coal, Reid Frazier went to Eastern Kentucky to see what will happen to the land once coal is gone. Continue Reading →

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Drilling Is Loud, But Are Wyoming Officials Listening?

Don Behrens' company, Environmental Noise Control, specializes in noise control for oil and gas operations, like this production facility in Northern Colorado.

When it comes to oil and gas drilling in urban and suburban areas, the question is often ‘how close is too close?’ That’s been the major point of contention in Wyoming, where the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is currently considering a rule to increase the setback distance between oil and gas wells and houses from 350 to 500 feet. Many homeowners would like it to be even further. But distance is only one part of the issue. Continue Reading →

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Solar Economics Looking Sunnier, Even In Coal Country

Holly Copeland in front of the family's house and their newly-installed solar array.

Wyoming's solar potential is among the best in the nation, but even as residential rooftop solar has boomed recently in places like California, Colorado and New Jersey, it's barely made any inroads in the state. Economics and politics both play a role, but with the price of photovoltaics continuing to drop, some people are starting to ask whether momentum is building for solar in nation's largest coal-producing state. Continue Reading →

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