Fieldnotes from the Coal Region

Saint Nicholas Breaker, Sheanadaoh, PA and Mahanoy City; Schuylkill County; Anthracite Coal Region

 

3-2014

This is last coal breaker standing built before 1960 in the Anthracite Coal Region: Saint Nicholas Breaker located between Shenandoah, PA and Mahanoy City, PA in Schuylkill County. The others have been demolished, the last of which was the Huber Breaker in Luzerne County in Ashley, PA.

 

coalkeepslightson

9-2014

On the same stretch of road between Shenandoah and Mahanoy City, this conveyor reaches over the road displaying the phrases “COAL KEEPS THE LIGHTS ON” framed by the black heaps of culm from the stripping operations. The phrase is accurate insofar as the 2013 U.S. Energy and Information Administration Statistics reported that much U.S. electricity generation was indeed coming from coal. Yet community members tell me this conveyer is taking the refuse to the cogeneration plant whereas as the stripping operation in the background coupled with those words misleads. The coal from the stripping operations is exported to abroad, for example to China.