At the national level, the modern environmental movement and environmental justice movement sparked increasing public awareness of threats to the environment, especially in areas of under- represented communities, and encouraged environmental policy changes from the 1960s-1990s. The impact of the movements at the national level raises questions about other forms of impact-- namely, the movement''s influence on discourse at the local level. This study conducts a content analysis on 50 articles printed in the Appalachian newspaper the "Athens Messenger" from the 1960s-1990s. The study identifies the ways in which the paper''s reporting reflects the movements'' environmental concerns, in particular concerns regarding coal mining practices'' human and environmental consequences in Appalachia, and shapes readers by its discourse. Because of this study''s examination of how the paper''s rhetoric enabled or disabled its readers to take political action on behalf of the environment, it should be useful for rhetoricians, journalists, environmentalists, activists, and anyone interested in investigating the intricate relationship among discourse, politics, and activism.