Smokestacks and cornfields: politics of power in the Ohio Valley during the 1970s

  • Megan Chew


Current debates over the role of coal-fired power plants in US energy production focus on the environmental consequences of these plants. The difficult social consequences of shuttering power plants are rooted in decades of progress and operation of these plants, and the reliance of local communities on property taxes and jobs from those plants. During the 1970s, technology and investment enabled coal-fired power plants to grow in the Ohio Valley, and specifically in the state of Ohio’s riverfront. Growing regulation in this decade, including state-level organizations like the Ohio Power Siting Commission (now Board), did not reverse the growth of large-scale power plants nor permanently change the conversation around fossil fuel-based energy production in the Valley. The complexities of current arguments over the coal energy industry are rooted in its continued growth in the 1970s, despite increased regulation and space for public comment. Continued growth of the largely rural complex of power plants meant environments adapted to, and relied upon, the benefits, some of which are only now being removed with plant retirements.


Coal Electricity Energy Ohio Ohio Valley Regulation 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ColumbusUSA

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