The Effects of Coal Mining, Visualized: Scope and Tools

Between 1972 and 1974, an Environmental Protection Agency photography initiative called Documerica sought to capture areas of environmental concern in the 1970s. The photographs in this slideshow were taken primarily in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, Ohio, and West Virginia, but also feature surface mining sites in Montana.

What do these images tell us about the changing scope of surface mining tools in the late twentieth century?

What do they suggest about labor needs for mining during this period?


Environmental Protection Agency, DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972-1977. Record Group 412: Records of the Environmental Protection Agency, 1944-2006.

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Teaching Unit: 

Late 20th Century Coal Mining