Growing up in southern Ohio, coal was a part of life. In school we all learned the difference between anthracite and bituminous. Our economy relied on coal as the larger employers in the area, the steel mill, the railroad and the stove foundry, were based on coal. The railroad carried the coal, the steel mill burned the coal, the foundry used both coal and pig iron, a product of the steel-making process. I can still today bring back the smell of the coke furnace and see yellow hot molten steel pouring from the huge ladle.
There is no coal mining in my home county, the coal fields lie just east and south. Oh, I think there were some small holes that people worked mostly for home use but nothing that went miles back into mountains or underground. But when there was a mining disaster, because of the magic of television WSAZ and WCHS our network affiliates based in Charleston and Huntington, brought it right inside our living room. As a kid, it was heart-wrenching to think your dad might go off to work and never come home. It was sad seeing the families gather together to wait, and wait, and wait. And it still is today.
The nation's fleet of over 100 coal plants is responsible for 57 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S., more than any other single electricity fuel source. Power Scorecard
When you use your electricity today, think about what it takes to get it to you.