Appalachia

Courtesy of the artist

When people think of Appalachia, they might be more likely to think of West Virginia or Kentucky than of Hawley, a tiny town in northeastern Pennsylvania.

But Appalachia is an extensive region known as much for its natural beauty as for the poverty of many of its people, and its legacy of extractive industries.

Felicia Cooper was upset when natural-gas companies starting tearing up the land in her hometown to build new pipelines.

Even now, 10 years later, park ranger Andrea Moore remembers the familiar smell in the air that told her it was going to be a good hunt — a damp, sweet smell. It was a mix of rotting bark with an undercurrent of rebirth as trees begin to grow new leaves, while dead ones still litter the terrain.

A Surge Of Black Lung Disease In Appalachia

Feb 22, 2018
Timothy D. Easly / AP

An ugly legacy of the coal mining industry is making a comeback in Appalachia. Despite regulations meant to protect workers from toxic coal dust, a whole new generation of miners is being diagnosed with the most severe form of black lung disease. 

Updated on Feb. 6 at 3:49 p.m. ET

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they've identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

Trump To Tap McConnell Aide For Appalachian Post

Jan 5, 2018
Jeff Gentner / AP

President Donald Trump intends to tap a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Appalachian 'Innovators' Offer New Ideas For The Region

Oct 27, 2017
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

Around 350 community activists from around Appalachia, which includes 13 states from southern New York to northern Mississippi, gathered in Pittsburgh earlier this month for a conference about transforming the region.

While nationally Appalachia is often portrayed as a poor, rural region suffering from the loss of coal jobs, Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which sponsored the two-day conference, says there is also a lot of excitement about new ways to grow the region’s economy.

Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

Shell Chemical Appalachia has reached a settlement agreement with two environmental groups that had challenged the air permit for its new petrochemical plant being built near Pittsburgh.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Placing much of the blame on smoking, a study chronicling the ongoing health crisis in Appalachia has concluded that the 13-state region suffers from a growing disparity in infant mortality and life expectancy, two key indicators of "a nation's health and well-being."

Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Album Art by Kathy Borland

Long before the rise of the radio and the advent of the record player, the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania rang with the music of fiddle and fife, with old melodies first brought to the New World by immigrants from Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Many of the players couldn’t read music, so the tradition spread aurally from one generation to the next. Thriving communities of fiddlers fueled the local dance halls in places like Derry in Westmoreland County and Dunbar in Fayette County, and fifers played traditional marches in holiday parades.