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In this sound-rich, half-hour special from High Plains News - produced in association with Mountain West Voices, West Virginia Public Radio and Allegheny Front - we look at the present and future of coal in America.

We begin our story in Central Appalachia, where coal is in sharp decline. Reporter Catherine Moore traveled the back roads of West Virginia to learn how individuals and communities are dealing with the difficult economic and social transition away from coal.

Next, we hear from Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier, who went to eastern Kentucky to get a sense of whether Appalachian landscapes can recover from "mountaintop removal."

And finally, we go to the Powder River Basin, the region straddling Wyoming and Montana that produces the bulk of the nation's coal. Producer Clay Scott takes us into an open pit mine to talk with some of the people whose livelihoods have depended on coal.

Later, we'll hear from ranchers and others whose lands, water and health have been imperiled by coal mining activity.

And finally, we will meet the retired manager of several Wyoming coal mines, who late in his career became concerned with the environmental and health impacts of coal mining around the world.