Both Donald Trump and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice campaigned on promises to bring coal mining jobs back to the region. Now Justice wants the president to prop up the flagging coal industry with federally-funded incentives for power companies to purchase coal from Appalachia. That’s not an idea that goes over well in Wyoming, where the majority of U.S. coal is mined.
The energy that lights up, turns on, cools and heats our lives leaves… a trail of waste. And the waste from the gas drilling known as “fracking” is often radioactive. Reporter Glynis Board and the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity found that inconsistent regulation of this “hot” waste creates ripe conditions for dangerous disposal.
Even though Wyoming has been the top coal-producing state since 1988 and its coal culture runs deep, the image of the Appalachian coal miner persists in American popular culture. Why? Perhaps because most coal miners still work in Appalachia, even though most coal comes from Wyoming. In 2012, for example, Wyoming produced about 40% of U.S. coal but employed only 8% of coal miners.
As states ready for the Obama Administration to release new carbon emissions regulations next week, a major question looms: What’s the most sensible way to measure and compare greenhouse gas production? Two states dwarf all others when it comes to sheer amount of carbon dioxide released: Texas and California. Texas is such a carbon giant that it accounts for 12% of U.S. emissions and produces nearly twice as much as the next closest state, California. This graph shows 2011 carbon dioxide emissions based on Energy Information Administration (EIA) data:
But there’s more than one way to slice and dice emissions data. Looking at carbon dioxide produced per dollar earned by industry, the story changes: Wyoming tops all states in carbon emitted per dollar earned, followed by West Virginia and North Dakota.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting