The Coal Trap
How West Virginia Was Left Behind in the Clean Energy Revolution
Author(s): James M. Van Nostrand
Publication Date: 21-07-2022
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Between 2009 and 2019, West Virginian politicians aligned themselves with the interests of the coal industry to the substantial detriment of the citizens and economy of the state. Despite the undeniable low-carbon transformation that was occurring in the energy industry in the US during this period, state political leaders doubled down on coal. Rather than provide the leadership necessary to manage the transition of the state's economic drivers away from fossil fuels, they largely blamed the demise of the coal industry on the federal government. At every turn, the interests of the coal industry were placed above the economic and environmental health of West Virginians. James Van Nostrand tells the story of why West Virginia now faces overwhelming obstacles to competing in the economic marketplace of the twenty-first century. The book serves as a warning of how a fair energy transition can be derailed by political failure.
- Argues that failed political leadership derailed an inevitable and necessary transition from coal to clean energy sources
- Explores the tension between heritage and the need to adopt forward-looking policies and modern technologies
- Reveals the impact of the hold that the coal industry has on West Virginia, and its negative consequences for citizens