There has been a large amount of coal available in West Virginia, the first coal in that state was discovered back in 1742. Coal is mined in 43 out of the 55 counties that exist within the state. The abundance of coal in the state has created a dependence upon it for generating income. The coal industry contributes approxiamtely 60% of the total state’s business tax paid to the state.
To answer the question “why”, it is just a matter of past geologic history – conditions were good in what is now West Virginia for vegetation-rich swamps to develop (mostly around 300 million years ago), and following conditions of burial were also appropriate for compaction into coal.
Simply lucky accidents of geology.
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