The study said that despite a 50 percent drop in Appalachian coal production since 2008 and a nearly 60 percent drop in coal mined through mountaintop removal, "communities where surface mine encroachment is increasing suffer higher rates of poverty and are losing population more than twice as fast as nearby rural communities with no mining in the immediate vicinity," Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder.
"The study used a Google 'geospatial analysis tool' to map the spread of mountaintop removal mining from 30 years of satellite images of Central Appalachia," Marema writes. "That information was combined with data from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to determine whether mining had moved closer or farther from human settlements."
The study included the top 50 at-risk communities, with almost all of them located in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. No. 1 was Krypton, Ky., in Perry County, followed by: Bishop, W.Va; Roaring Fork, Va.; Wainville, W.Va.; Decota, W.Va.; Red Warrior, W.Va; Busy, Ky.; Lindytown, W.Va.; Tipton, Ky.; and Yolyn, W.Va. (Appalachian Voices map)