Ohio coal research project gets funding, looking for local feedback

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COLUMBUS — A research and arts project to document how eastern Ohio has been shaped by changes in the coal industry was awarded a $35,000 grant from the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State University.

The Ohio Coal Transition: Pathways for Community Resilience is a partnership between Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, University Libraries and the departments of Theatre, Geography and Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering.

The project team is collecting historical and archival information and data about coal production and use, as well as conducting interviews with community leaders and residents in targeted Ohio communities about the role coal mining, transportation and use has and will play in communities. The team is currently focusing interviews in Belmont, Coshocton and Noble counties.

The multi-county project in Ohio’s Appalachian region is led by a multi-disciplinary group of faculty, staff and students interested in documenting how the coal industry has shaped Ohio’s history, culture and economy and how ongoing changes in the coal industry will impact Ohio communities moving forward.

The team plans to produce reports and a project website, as well as theatrical and fine art products that tell the story of these coal communities. The confidential research is non-political and supportive to communities and participants.

If you were involved in the coal industry or impacted by the closures of Central Ohio Coal, in Noble County, or AEP coal-fired power plant closures in Coshocton or Belmont Counties and would like to participate in the study, contact Gwynn Stewart at stewart.1818@osu.edu or 740-305-3177, or Katie Finneran at finneran.57@osu.edu or 419-788-8216.

More information about the research project is available at energizeohio.osu.edu/fossil-energy-resources/ohio-coal-communities.

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