Environment

Over the past decade, the news about Kentucky’s coal industry has been reliably bad. The latest numbers show the state is mining the smallest amount of coal since about 1934, and there are fewer coal miners employed here than anytime in the 20th century.

Despite these realities, there are still a surprisingly large number of active coal mines in Kentucky. As of last month, there were more than 2,000 coal mine permits in the commonwealth, and just over half of them were characterized as one of the state’s several “active” statuses.

This doesn’t, however, speak to how much coal was removed or how many coal miners were employed at these mines, though the mechanization of the industry over the past few decades has meant companies can extract more coal with fewer workers.

Check out this map, and explore the different filtering options to see what kinds of permits there are:

Here’s some more information about how and where Kentucky coal is mined, and how much money is currently bonded to reclaim all those mine sites:

Erica Peterson is WFPL's News Director.