Appalachian States Look Past Coal, Ask Trump to Aid Natural Gas

Having lost tens of thousands of coal mining jobs to the rise in natural gas, several states have decided if you can’t beat them, join them.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers hopes to persuade President Donald Trump to spare a loan program he wants to kill and use it to help a $10 billion gas-storage project in the hard-hit Appalachian region of the eastern U.S. where coal had once dominated. Proponents say it would help spur new chemical, refining and other manufacturing industries — and give out-of-work miners a new career path.

“We need a more diverse portfolio,” said Brian Anderson, director of West Virginia University’s Energy Institute, and a member of the project’s coordinating committee. “If you have one industry that dominates your economy and that industry sees a decline then it really runs huge ripples through your entire economy.”
 
Coal and natural gas compete in the electricity markets and

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