Energy & Environment

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Trump has said the “war on coal” is over. But in the energy marketplace the power struggle continues. Even the Ohio Valley, where coal has long been king, the switch to natural gas is under way. In the second of two stories, Glynis Board reports on the public health effects of our energy choices. 

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.

Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, despite the Trump administration’s support for the coal industry, the power sector is moving toward more use of natural gas. Even the Ohio Valley, where coal has long been king, the switch to gas is under way, with big implications for the region’s economy and environment. In the first of two reports, Glynis Board reports on two facilities that illustrate the power struggle.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

 

Thanks to singer-songwriter John Prine, Paradise Fossil Plant might be the only coal-fired power plant that has a household name. “Paradise,” Prine’s 1971 ballad, drew on boyhood memories from the small town of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to relay the environmental and social costs of our dependence on coal.

The G20 Summit ended in Hamburg with affirmation to pursue the Paris climate accord by leaders of the world's strongest economies, minus President Trump.

"The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible," reads a declaration adopted on the final day of meetings Saturday, by a group that includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, and which some are now calling the "G19," at least when it comes to the question of climate change.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

The bridge that provides the only road access to the Camp Brookside area of New River Gorge National River in West Virginia has been closed for repairs.

The National Park Service says the shutdown began Thursday and is expected to last five weeks.

RIck Perry
Eric Gay / AP

After touring one of the few recently built coal-fired power plants in the U.S., Energy Secretary Rick Perry says they're important for the country's future.

Perry says a stable baseload of electricity is important and this technology provides "the ability to deliver a secure, economical and environmentally good source of energy."

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachian Power is seeking approval for two wind generation projects.

The utility says in a news release that it has asked regulators to approve its requests to acquire projects currently under development by Invenergy LLC.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, nationwide, West Virginia is known for its struggles with opioid abuse and growing rates of overdose deaths. In fact, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2015, West Virginia had the highest overdose rate in the country per capita, or in proportion with the population.

Rep. David McKinley in a hearing
Submitted Photo / Office of David McKinley

Lawmakers in Washington advanced a bill this week that could help communities throughout the region leverage more funds to clean up abandoned industrial sites.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill drafted and sponsored by West Virginia's Representative David McKinley to improve the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program, which provides resources to clean up and redevelop contaminated industrial sites.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

Officials say an explosion at a recycling facility in West Virginia has burned an employee.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that state fire marshal Shawn Alderman says the worker was treated for burns at a local hospital after the incident at Cashin Recyclables in Nitro. Alderman says it happened shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when the worker used a hand-held rotary saw to scrap an oxygen cylinder.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Political leaders in West Virginia and Kentucky are joining a coalition of states threatening to sue California over a program the state is pushing that would drop investments in coal.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

 A committee looking at how decisions are reached on controlling coal miners' exposure to coal dust will meet this week in West Virginia.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee is assessing the effectiveness of monitoring and sampling approaches used to make the decisions.

Lyme, tick, Lyme disease, IDSA, infectious disease, WVU
Dollar Photo Club

A West Virginia University Extension Service expert wants to help residents of the state avoid attacks by ticks this summer.

Entomology specialist Daniel Frank says three things that can help are mowing grass frequently, trimming trees and using insecticide when appropriate.

Ohio County
David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia city has filed a federal lawsuit seeking a $20 million insurance claim to cover damages at its hydroelectric plant.

The Intelligencer reports that the lawsuit was filed this month in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

Monongalia County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

Officials have confirmed that a tornado touched down in northern West Virginia as the remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy passed through the state.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said the tornado in Monongalia County had a rating of EF1 , with maximum winds estimated at 95 mph (153 kph).

Federal regulators released a draft of a final assessment of the environmental impacts of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would travel from West Virginia into and through Virginia.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessors say if built, the Mountain Valley pipeline would have “significant” impacts on forests in West Virginia and Virginia. The assessment says the $3.4 billion proposed project would have "limited" adverse effects in the proposed pipeline's path elsewhere.

U.S. Dept. of Energy

Paducah, Kentucky, is home to USEC, a Department of Energy uranium enrichment facility that operated for 50 years until being decommissioned in 2013. Just across the Ohio River lies the Honeywell corporation’s Metropolis Works, the nation’s only uranium conversion plant.

Former State Sen. Bob Leeper thought it made sense to build on that existing capacity. So he introduced a bill to end the state’s decades-old moratorium on nuclear power. That was ten years ago.

Cameron Williams

Last September Mark Combs and Cameron Elias Williams set out for California hoping to develop careers in the arts and entertainment industry. But once they reached Denver they found it difficult to get their lives financially under control. They also fought loneliness.

“It's been, it's been kinda tough to be honest. I didn't think I would miss people back home this much,” Mark recorded after a lonely Thanksgiving in Denver.

Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we'll hear about ways to deal with emotional stress associated with a traumatic event, like last the 2016 flooding in southern and central West Virginia. Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly speaks with Dr. Carol Smith, of Marshall University, about ways family and friends can help victims cope with disaster.

Also, The Allgheny Front's Reid Frazier takes a look at the effects of increased trucking from the fracking industry on small towns in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania.

Barbour County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Another person has been killed in an explosion at a West Virginia industrial plant where two people were killed last month, authorities said Tuesday.

Officials said the explosion Tuesday morning was at Midland Resource Recovery, a company based in Ontario, Canada, that odorizes natural gas.

In a preliminary report, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said contractors at the facility outside Philippi were disassembling a 30-gallon tank, trying to render tanks safe from the previous explosion May 24 that killed two and injured one.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's Public Service Commission on Thursday issued a final settlement order closing its investigation into West Virginia American Water's role in a chemical spill and resulting water crisis in the Charleston area in January 2014.

Thousands of gallons of a coal-cleaning agent leaked from a Freedom Industries storage tank into the Elk River, leaving 300,000 people in nine counties without water for up to nine days. Businesses in the state's largest drinking water system were temporarily shut. Hundreds of people headed to emergency rooms for issues from nausea to rashes after contact with tap water that smelled like licorice.

Authorities say a 32-year-old miner has been killed at a mine in southern West Virginia.

The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Rockwell Mining LLC Gateway Eagle Mine.

Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a month-long sampling of water and soil for PCB chemicals in West Virginia.

The testing in Minden until Friday is for polychlorinated biphenyls, which were commonly used as an electrical equipment insulator. The EPA lists PCBs as a "possible" carcinogen and in 1977 banned their used except in totally enclosed systems.

Pleasants County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia county has designated three new water trails that follow segments of the Ohio River and two tributaries.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Pleasants County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the three St. Marys-area trails on Friday. The Middle Island Creek Water Trail, French Creek Water Trail and Ohio River Wildlife Refuge Water Trail join more than a dozen such trails in West Virginia.

Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources says it is plans to open a new underground coal mine in West Virginia this summer and create more than 50 jobs.

The Kingsport, Tennessee, coal producer says the Panther Eagle Mine at subsidiary Marfork Coal is expected to begin extracting metallurgical coal as early as July.

Federal mine safety officials will discuss recent coal mining deaths during a meeting this week in West Virginia.

The meeting Thursday in Beaver, West Virginia, near Beckley, will also address regulatory issues. Interested parties unable to attend may participate via teleconference or online using WebEx.

Tire Pile
SuperJew / wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is holding several events for residents to dispose of tires this month.

The Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan events will be Wednesday in Summers County; Saturday in Ohio, Boone and Hardy counties; June 15 in Doddridge County; and June 21 in McDowell County. Events were held previously in Upshur and Harrison counties.

Kenn W. Kiser / morguefile.com

Many political leaders in the Ohio Valley approve of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. But surveys indicate that public opinion across the region varies, with a slight majority saying they’d like the country to stay the course on climate change.

 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, independent producer Jean Snedegar takes us on a journey through the history of the Mountain State's timber legacy.

And A Change of Tune's Joni Deutsch kicks off her second season of 30 Days of West Virginia Music series. We'll hear a portion of her interview with Adam Meisterhans, of the band Rozwell Kid.

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