This important book begins with an Introduction entitled “The Lost Decade” that shows how from 2009 until 2019, West Virginia politicians gave the coal industry all it wanted instead of looking out for the best interests of the people of the state and the need to build an economy not dependent upon fossil fuels. The title of the last chapter is, “What the Future Could Hold If Leaders Chose to Lead.” Between those two chapters look for “How West Virginia Went from Blue to Red,” and “Manchin in the Middle.” “The Coal Trap is a sober and utterly damning indictment of what a decade of coal dependence and political corruption has cost West Virginians. Van Nostrand knows the law, he knows the politics, and he knows where all the bodies are buried. A must-read for anyone who cares about the future of West Virginia - or the future of the planet.” - Jeff Goodell. “James Van Nostrand brings stellar expertise and deep experience of West Virginia to a subject that could not be more timely or relevant. Everyone who cares about the trajectory of U.S. climate policy should own and read this book.” - Abigail Dillen. “James Van Nostrand has given us a fascinating new account of how, even as it shrinks, West Virginia’s coal industry continues to manipulate our system of utility regulation to its benefit, in ways that hold the state and its transition to a more modern economy back. The Coal Trap is a must-read book for West Virginians and for anyone who cares about the future or our state and our world.” Ken Ward Jr. The author, James M. Van Nostrand, is an endowed professor of Law at West Virginia University.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 303 pages with an Index, figures and tables. Trade paperback.