In the rolling hills of northern Appalachia, the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania unfolds into stretches of pastures, forests, and farms, as small towns momentarily rise and fall along the country roads. Washington and Greene counties are nestled there, with Ohio and West Virginia to the west and south. Running below the picturesque landscapes, historic Mail Pouch Tobacco barns, general stores, and generations-old family farms is the black vein of the Pittsburgh coal seam. Averaging between five and eight feet thick, it extends over 11,000 miles through 53 counties, making it the thickest and most extensive coal bed in the Appalachian Basin (Ruppert, Tewalt, and Bragg 1997; Tewalt et al. 2000).