Energy & Environment

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court begins his Senate confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sept. 4. If confirmed, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will tip the court to the right and make overturning Roe versus Wade a possibility.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Developers of a major underground natural gas liquids storage facility say they are one step closer to making construction a reality. The Appalachian Development Group announced in an Aug. 29 news release that it selected an outside development and engineering firm to help with project planning and construction.

Hundreds of Jefferson County residents and locals from nearby counties rallied outside the Jefferson County Community Center on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 to protest the Rockwool company.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The European-based insulation manufacturing company Rockwool held a handful of community open houses last week at the Jefferson County Community Center. The aim was to better-connect with residents, many of whom don’t want the company to locate in the Eastern Panhandle. Rockwool’s final open house drew a crowd of hundreds who rallied outside to protest the plant.

courtesy of Nancy Stout

The region just lost a powerhouse of environmental science and advocacy with the death of professor Benjamin Stout. Stout’s work as an educator, an expert witness in the courtroom, as well as his work empowering citizens with science, made long-term impacts regionally and nationally.

Stout was a Wheeling resident and, for the past 26 years, a biology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University. He was a stream ecologist who dedicated his life to science, nature, and above all, community. Ben died of cancer Aug. 3 at his home in Wheeling, surrounded by his family. He was 60.


West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talks about his budget proposal during a stop on his Save Our State Tour on Thursday, March 3, 2017, at Fairmont State University.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal court has ordered the U.S. Marshal to collect more than $1 million owed by two coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

Federal regulators today gave the Mountain Valley Pipeline the green light to restart the majority of construction.

In a letter sent to Mountain Valley Pipeline officials, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said the pipeline’s continued construction hiatus could cause more environmental harm than good. In order to “mitigate further environmental impacts” the agency said construction along rights-of-way could resume, except on federal lands.


Kara Lofton / WVPB

When President Trump wants to talk coal, he comes to West Virginia. So it was not surprising that the president visited Charleston just hours after his administration unveiled a long-awaited overhaul of the Obama administration's signature climate change regulation, the Clean Power Plan.

“We’re cancelling Obama’s illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. The so-called Clean Power Plan,” Trump told the cheering crowd.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when President Trump visited West Virginia last week, he hailed his administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule as something that will fuel a coal comeback. 
The rule replaces an Obama-era regulation intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 
But as Brittany Patterson reports, industry experts say they don’t expect Trump’s new plan to change coal’s fortunes in the Ohio Valley -- and the administration’s own analysis agrees.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency says a West Virginia site is being deleted from the Superfund National Priorities List after being added to it in 1986.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s been a lot of friction in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new Rockwool manufacturing plant. In response to the communitiy's pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled open houses through Saturday. Liz McCormick has more.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s been contention in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new manufacturing plant being built called Rockwool. In response to the pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled community open houses through Saturday to engage with community members.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have introduced a provision that aims to boost participation in black lung detection programs.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner introduced the amendment Wednesday into the defense, labor, health and education spending package that is being debated on the Senate floor.

If passed, the provision would require the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH to create a report for Congress within 180 days detailing how to increase participation in black lung screening programs.

Beth Walker was impeached from the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Jennifer Bundy / West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

The Republican-led West Virginia House of Delegates received national attention last week for impeaching all four of the state’s sitting Supreme Court justices. Lawmakers cited a swirling scandal over court spending that ranged from using state cars for personal business to extravagant office renovations that included a $32,000 couch.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump touted the coal industry’s comeback at the rally last night. While the state has seen coal production and jobs tick upward in recent years – largely due to exports – a new federal analysis by the EPA indicates that trend is not likely to last. Brittany Patterson has more.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

At a campaign rally in Charleston for state attorney general and senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, President Donald Trump touted the coal industry’s comeback in West Virginia.

“And it is really happening -- we are back,” Trump told the cheering crowd, many of whom were sporting hard hats and carrying “Trump Digs Coal” signs. “The coal industry is back.”

EPA Moves To Dramatically Cut Regulation of Coal Power

Aug 21, 2018
Adobe Stock

The Trump administration moved to dismantle another major piece of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy on Tuesday, proposing to dramatically scale back restrictions on climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants even as it acknowledged that could lead to more premature deaths and serious illnesses.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump is expected to use a rally in West Virginia Tuesday to roll out a replacement for a major climate regulation that sought to limit carbon pollution.

Trump will be in Charleston campaigning for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Attorney General Patrick  Morrisey. He is also expected to announce his administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan.

Power Lines
Kreuzschnabel / wikimedia commons

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power have filed a settlement agreement seeking to use tax reform funds to offset fuel and vegetation management costs, allowing customer rates to remain stable for two years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, eight former coal mine employees in western Kentucky faced arraignment last week on federal charges that they conspired to falsify monitoring of coal dust, which can cause black lung disease. The unusual case comes amid a surge in black lung, and the fraud charges highlight the risks miners face. Miners say cheating on dust monitors is widespread. And a recent change in Kentucky law could make it harder for those with black lung to get benefits.

Also on today's show, strengthened stream protection regulations spurred a fight between unlikely foes -- environmentalists and tourism entrepreneurs -- about whether those protections go too far.

And Gene Kendzior tells his daughter, Jennifer, about her grandfather, who died working in a coal mine in 1967.

Wikimedia Commons

Federal regulators have halted construction of two major natural gas pipelines that cross through Appalachia this month, following several federal court decisions.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) halted the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Friday, Aug. 10. The agency issued a similar stop-work order earlier this month for the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline. Both orders followed decisions issued by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal appeals court based in Richmond, Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Wood County 911

A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit in connection with an industrial fire in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll visit a plantation owned by a villainized African-American woman, and we’ll hear the latest on halted construction of both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Pipeline awaits construction.
SETH PERLMAN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Federal regulators halted all construction of the 604-mile, interstate Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) following a federal court’s ruling this week that invalidated two major federal permits.

The Friday evening decision comes just a week after regulators issued a similar stop work order for another major interstate natural gas project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, downed trees mark the route of the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline in Lindside, W.Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Federal regulators have approved parts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline's plan to stabilize areas of the pipeline's route that are under construction and ensure that work already in progress does not become an environmental liability.

The document, mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after it halted all construction of the 303-mile pipeline earlier this month, drew criticism from environmental groups that said the plan effectively greenlights continued pipeline construction.

Hundreds gathered in Charles Town Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 to protest a new manufacturing plant being built in nearby Ranson. The plant will manufacture stone wool insulation a few miles from public schools and neighborhoods.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 at 8:10 a.m. with additional interviews, plus reactions from local residents and the Jefferson County Commission, and FAQs from the W.Va. DEP.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is reconsidering how it permits stream crossings for natural gas pipelines and other federal projects approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, owning a dog is said to help improve self-esteem. Man's best friend can improve social lives, makes us less lonely, and even help keep us active.  In our next installment of our summer series Outside in Appalachia, health reporter and dog-lover Kara Lofton explores how to safely enjoy outdoor recreation to maximize the physical and mental benefits of pet ownership as well as explore local natural resources.

Win For Wetlands: Program Helps Farmers Conserve More Flood-Prone Land

Aug 4, 2018
The Relict darter is endemic to Bayou de Chien in west Kentucky.
Bec Feldhaus Adams

West Kentucky farmer Judy Wilson says her family is a bit of a sundry bunch.

“We love the farm, but we also love all the nature,” she said.

Wilson is driving down a back-country road that divides two fields, to the left is her soybean crop and to the right is 102 acres that she has placed in the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program, something her husband always wanted.

Pipeline awaits construction.
SETH PERLMAN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Federal regulators have ordered all construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to temporarily cease.

In a letter sent Friday, Aug. 3, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to pipeline officials, the agency ordered construction to stop across the pipeline’s entire 303-mile route.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an Ohio-based collaborative thinks journalists can play a bigger role in solving the region’s opioid crisis. Aaron Payne reports that the effort starts with listening to people in some of the hardest-hit communities.

Pages