Mitch Whitaker remembers well when Letcher County, Kentucky was booming with mining jobs. In fact, coal mines like the one near the land that Whitaker’s family has owned for generations made the town so busy that miners had three shifts running through the day.
“Everything was booming,” the 55-year-old environmentalist told ThinkProgress.
The smell of gas surrounding the northern streets of Lochgelly, West Virginia, was so pungent that Brad Keenan could taste it as he was driving home with his windows up that evening in 2004. He called 911 and the gas company, thinking a punctured gas line was to blame, but the smell and the evacuation it prompted came from something few knew existed in town: fracking waste.