Policy makers generally see resource extraction as a boon for local economies and citizens. Numerous studies, however, have shown negative socioeconomic outcomes in extractive communities, supporting the notion that resources can be more of a curse than a blessing. One aspect of this debate that requires further clarification is the role played by method of extraction. In this article, we use the case of West Virginia coal mining and a fixed effects model to test whether extraction methods affect socioeconomic outcomes. We observe little difference in these outcomes between surface and underground mining; rather, it is the presence or absence of mining that matters most. We find that nonmining counties have lower poverty and unemployment rates than mining counties. These results lead us to conclude that leaving remaining coal stores in the ground will likely prove most beneficial to the state's people and economy in the long run. © 2012 SAGE Publications.