Equipment for transporting and housing coal sits idle in Cowen, W.Va. Since the natural gas boom, several mines in Webster County have either slowed or shut down operation, laying off hundreds of workers.
Credit Michael Tomsic/NPR
Rich Lewis worked as a miner for almost two decades before being laid off by Arch Coal. He says he's considering taking a job at another mine, but it's not certain that mine will stay open.
This week, one of the biggest coal mining companies in Central Appalachia, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy protection. Over the past three months, a wave of layoffs has hit coal country hard, and this past month, the share of all U.S. electricity generated from coal hit its lowest level since the 1940s. Our colleague Guy Raz visited Webster County in the middle of West Virginia to find out what's killing King Coal.
Let's turn to another story we've been following in recent weeks: African-Americans and same-sex marriage. When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, some African-American religious leaders protested. But according to new polling data, African-Americans are no less supportive or, for that matter, opposed to gay marriage than any other group in the country.
Part one of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline
Gas prices are spiking once again; the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is about 12 percent higher than it was a year ago. But winter typically isn't the time for a rise in gas prices. Demand for gasoline is at a 14-year low and domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.