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Following the Sun: The Clean Air Act and Coal’s Westward Migration

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Abstract:

During the 1970s, the bulk of U.S. coal production shifted from Appalachia to western states such as Wyoming and Montana. In the years since, experts have explained that transition as the result of sulfur emission standards imposed by the 1970 Clean Air Act. Existing technology could not reduce emissions to the required levels, the story goes, so increased reliance on low-sulfur western coal became the only recourse. But by presenting the migration of coal production during the 1970s as the result of natural forces as unavoidable as the setting sun, historians have not only ignored the politicization of nature that occurred in the wake of the Clean Air Act, but also perpetuated false partitions between environmental, labor, and business history. This paper elucidates the economic and social forces the influenced coal’s westward tilt to show how nature—and, just as importantly, environmental regulations—came to bear the blame for the resulting job loss in Appalachia.
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Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1242146_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Free, Jonathan. "Following the Sun: The Clean Air Act and Coal’s Westward Migration" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1242146_index.html>

APA Citation:

Free, J. "Following the Sun: The Clean Air Act and Coal’s Westward Migration" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1242146_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: During the 1970s, the bulk of U.S. coal production shifted from Appalachia to western states such as Wyoming and Montana. In the years since, experts have explained that transition as the result of sulfur emission standards imposed by the 1970 Clean Air Act. Existing technology could not reduce emissions to the required levels, the story goes, so increased reliance on low-sulfur western coal became the only recourse. But by presenting the migration of coal production during the 1970s as the result of natural forces as unavoidable as the setting sun, historians have not only ignored the politicization of nature that occurred in the wake of the Clean Air Act, but also perpetuated false partitions between environmental, labor, and business history. This paper elucidates the economic and social forces the influenced coal’s westward tilt to show how nature—and, just as importantly, environmental regulations—came to bear the blame for the resulting job loss in Appalachia.


 
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