MADISON, W.Va. – In West Virginia’s bucolic Boone County, there are scattered reminders everywhere of better days – a tattered American flag, dusty swing sets and metal chimes blowing in the wind.
A decade ago, this coal community was thriving. It led the nation in mining jobs, had a vibrant economy and was giving back to its people.
Then a wave of environmental regulations hit, along with an overall shift toward other forms of energy. Aimed at cutting out coal in favor of wind and solar, the changes had devastating effects on towns built around the industry.
“It’s been heartbreaking,” Kris Mitchell, director at Boone County Community and Economic Development Corp., told Fox News. “It impacted every level.”