Articles by Tim Loh

Fatalities Rising as Coal Mine Production Increases

Ray Hatfield Jr. was six months into his latest coal job when he was crushed to death in a Kentucky mine. Hatfield, a 23-year industry veteran, was cleaning a conveyor belt that shuttled coal to the surface of the Appalachian …

Flood Threat Subsiding Near New Orleans, Baton Rouge

The threat of flooding is subsiding across the lower Mississippi River region just two weeks after high waters devastated parts of the St. Louis area. The Mississippi probably won’t rise as high from Arkansas to New Orleans as earlier forecasts …

Mississippi Floodwaters Head South; Officials Weigh Options

As floodwaters move south along the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is weighing steps it could take to prevent widespread flooding from southern Missouri down to the Gulf Coast. In Louisiana, the Corps and local levee districts …

Deadly Floods Disrupting Agriculture, Commercial Operations in U.S. Midwest

Deadly flooding across the U.S. Midwest is disrupting everything from oil to agriculture, forcing pipelines, terminals and grain elevators to close. The floods have killed at least 30 people and shut hundreds of roads across Missouri and Illinois, according to …

How a King of Coal Conspired Against Mine Safety

To hear Donald L. Blankenship tell it, the U.S. coal industry has been undone by inept regulators, evil unions, the media and “global warming hoaxers.” But for jurors at his criminal trial in Charleston, West Virginia, it’s the king of …

Deadly West Virginia Mine Explosion Trial Puts Spotlight on Massey’s King Coal

Before death came to Upper Big Branch Mine, Donald L. Blankenship managed his patch of Appalachia like King Coal incarnate. Outside homes in rural West Virginia flew the banner of his company, Massey Energy Co.: a flame leaping out of …

West Virginia’s Coal Country Split as New Law Pits Owners, Workers: Commodities

Mike Caputo, one of the top Democrats in the West Virginia legislature, began working in the state’s coal mines at age 19. It helped put his kids through school, he said, and helped him pay for his family home. Now …

Third Worker This Year Dies at Kentucky Patriot Mine

A worker was killed Tuesday in a Kentucky mine owned by Patriot Coal Co., the company’s third such fatality this year. Eli Eldridge, 34, of Sturgis, Kentucky died after he was struck by a vehicle shuttling coal to the feeder …

West Virginia Mine Disciplines Managers After Black Lung Risk Exposed

Rhino Eastern LLC changed management at its Eagle Mine 3 after inspectors warned that coal miners faced the risk of deadly explosions and developing black lung disease. The company acknowledged falling short of safety standards. Rhino Eastern also took other …