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1. ENERGY

High-stakes poker: plotting the future of coal-fired power plants

If one were to sketch a family tree of eastern U.S. power plants, the Gallatin Fossil Plant outside Nashville, Tenn., and the Big Sandy Power Plant in eastern Kentucky might be distant cousins. Separated by 300 miles of Cumberland Plateau, the two hulking coal burners share lineage as power plants that helped industrialize the South after World War II. But when it comes to their futures, the Gallatin and Big Sandy coal plants have met sharply divergent paths with significant implications for their surrounding regions.

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