Reckoning in coal country

Lessons from Wyoming and Appalachia on planning for a future without coal

About the project

From the hills of West Virginia to the wind-swept prairies of Campbell County, Wyoming, journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer explore the cultural, political and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal.

Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund.

Panel discussion: Facing the future in Wyoming and Appalachia

Fresh Energy, Energy News Network, and WyoFile hosted a virtual panel discussion on April 22, 2021, to discuss what’s next for coal country in Wyoming and Appalachia. The conversation featured journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer, Shannon Anderson of the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Wyoming, and Heidi Binko of the Just Transition Fund in Virginia, and was moderated by Energy News Network Director Ken Paulman. Watch the recorded panel below.

YouTube video

About the authors

Mason Adams has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. Born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism. He lives in Floyd County, Virginia.

Dustin Bleizeffer has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily covering the energy industry in Wyoming. He was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and also served as WyoFile’s editor-in-chief. He lives in Casper, Wyoming.

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Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. While the story continues to unfold, Reckoning in Coal Country provides a snapshot of these communities at a critical inflection point in American history.

Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund, Reckoning in Coal Country is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the challenges faced by rural communities in the transition away from fossil fuels.