Earlier this week the LA Times had a story about Jharia, India and the coal fires that have threatened that community for decades. The case of Jharia is pretty bleak according to the Times. An intriguing aspect of this story though is the increase of strip mining that has occurred as a means to “save” the coal from the fires. There are a number of different draws here since coal burnt in the ground as opposed to say a steel mill is ultimately money lost for mining interests. At the same time, strip mining leads to increased profits for those same interests. At the root though there remain the local residents whose lives are irrevocably changed by a coal mining disaster set to a slow burn.