MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In his inaugural book, West Virginia University law librarian Nick Stump offers ways to create systemic legal change in Appalachia to help the region rebuild from centuries of industrial exploitation.
“I wrote this book because, in my view, more traditional approaches to law and social change are not up to the task of our current contemporary crises,” said Stump, who is head of reference and access services in the George R. Farmer, Jr. Law Library at the WVU College of Law.
“This is perhaps especially true in our home region of Appalachia, which is often characterized as an energy ‘sacrifice zone’,” he said.
In Remaking Appalachia: Ecosocialism, Ecofeminism, and Law (WVU Press, 2021), Stump outlines a long history of laws created to support industrial growth that has helped extractive corporations thrive in the region.
He argues that environmental laws have primarily focused on regulating production and have not protected Appalachia from being exploited by drilling, pumping, quarrying, mining and timber companies.
Stump offers solutions such as coordinating local efforts and global initiatives that give power to communities and address the climate crisis. He provides real-life examples of economic transformation in Remaking Appalachia, including renewable energy initiatives and multi-stakeholder food cooperatives. He argues that by empowering local leaders and using insights and ideas from different schools of socio-political and economic thought, future sustainability efforts can be made more accessible to marginalized communities.
Stump teaches legal research courses at WVU Law. He graduated from WVU in 2008 and earned his J.D. from WVU Law in 2011. He earned a master’s degree in Information Systems from the University of Tennessee in 2014.