Magazine

Oct 16, 2014

The King Coal Highway

The King Coal Highway

Reuters photographer Robert Galbraith documented people and towns along West Virginia's Route 52, or 'King Coal Highway' as it's known. Coal miners have worked in this part of the United States for over a century enjoying the best of the boom times and riding out the bad, the constant refrain being that coal would always be there, the mines would be back. But now with coal production slowing due to stricter environmental controls, the availability of natural gas and a shift to surface mining, the state's coal country has been hit hard with job losses and business closures, creating virtual ghost towns along the route

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