With the help of local volunteers and some bulldozers, Patrick Angel, retired strip-mine inspector and farm owner near London, KY, has spent the past two decades trying to reforest mined areas.
More than 187 million trees have been planted on about 275,000 acres of former mines, Gabriel Popkin reports for The Washington Post Magazine. (Popkin is science writer who was born and raised in Kentucky.) As the Obama administration was ending, it issued regulations “that all but required reforestation for surface-mine reclamation,” Popkin notes. “One of President Trump’s first acts, supposedly to reward the coal miners and industry leaders who supported him, was to kill the new rule.”