Energy & Environment

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ve heard a series of stories recently about a community in West Virginia, where residents are concerned about toxic waste they say is causing high rates of cancer. Many residents there say they want the Environmental Protection Agency to put their town on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List -- or NPL.

But resources for the federal program have been dwindling for decades. What does it mean when a community is placed on the NPL? Do contaminated areas get cleaned up? Brittany Patterson visited one site in north-central West Virginia to learn more.

Town of Berkeley Springs, Morgan County looking south; CNB Bank (left) and The Country Inn (right). Photo taken on June 3, 2018.
Robert Madison / Courtesy Photo

Updated on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for a handful of counties in the Eastern Panhandle this weekend due to flooding from heavy rainfall.

Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, and Pendleton counties are under the state of emergency

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The final two protesters who had perched themselves on trees and poles to block construction of a natural gas pipeline through Appalachia have come down.

The Roanoke Times reports one protester was forcibly removed Friday and another came down voluntarily as authorities approached.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump on Friday directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prepare “immediate steps” to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump believes “keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Charleston Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in America. In a new documentary directed by Deborah Novak, members of the company, both seasoned and new, share the story of the ballet and its founder, Andre Van Damme.

Gillian Brooks sat down with Kim Pauley, artistic director and CEO of the Charleston Ballet, to discuss the company’s history and remember its founder.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public listening session next week in the town of Minden, which is seeking federal help due to hazardous waste contamination.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Moring, Kandi Messinger is a health educator for WVU Cabell County Extension Service. She teaches a nutrition and cooking basics class for those going through the Cabell County drug courts program. Kara Lofton spoke with Messinger about why alternative education and life skills training is an important piece of recovery.

Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On a recent drive through the Northview neighborhood of Clarksburg, James Lachapelle surveyed what is left of the factory that was once the lifeblood of this blue-collar community in north central West Virginia.

Broken windows dot the dilapidated structure, which was once the Roland glass factory. Luscious green vines and trees almost obscure the piles of tires and other refuse.

Lachapelle has lived here his entire life. His grandfather, father and brother all worked at the glass factory.

"I grew up with that factory there and never had one worry about," he said. "I mean we just grew up [thinking] 'OK, that’s just the way it was,' but as you got older and the factory collapsed, then you started worrying when are they going to clean this mess up?"

courtesy of Kimberly Shatney

Kimberly Shatney lives just outside Pine Grove, West Virginia, an incorporated town of about 500 people with a big problem. Behind a small sandwich shop in town, she points to the ground caked with what looks like dry mud.

“This is all raw sewage. All of that, all of this is raw sewage,” Shatney said, shaking her head.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Surgeon General recently issued an advisory, encouraging more Americans to carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone. It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, known as Narcan, and is regularly carried by firefighters, EMTs and police officers. As a part of a series on the ripple effects of the opioid crisis, StateImpact Ohio’s Ashton Marra reports the antidote is also becoming more and more common in Ohio schools.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

A citizen group says an environmental project manager for the government has been wrongly signing off on the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Smithburg Fire Department / via AP

Authorities say one of four people who were hospitalized after oil tanks exploded in West Virginia has died.

51-year-old Barry Lattea of Weston died Saturday at a Pittsburgh hospital. A medical examiner determined Lattea died of thermal and inhalation injuries.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

At a West Virginia rally on tax cuts, President Donald Trump veered off on a subject that likely puzzled most of his audience.

"Nine of your people just came up to me outside. 'Could you talk about 202?'" he said. "We'll be looking at that 202. You know what a 202 is? We're trying."

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A coalition of conservation groups is suing the Trump administration over changes to a hundred-year old law protecting migrating birds. Late last year, the administration announced a seemingly minor change to just two words in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As Brittany Patterson reports, those two little words have big implications for thousands of birds that migrate over the Ohio Valley.

Birders identify species in the WVU arboretum, a popular woods in Morgantown, WV.
Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On a recent chilly Tuesday morning, about 20 people filed along a winding dirt path leading deeper into West Virginia University’s Arboretum in Morgantown.

Armed with binoculars, smartphones and hiking boots, the group had one goal — spot and identify the chittering birds hidden in the trees above.

This photo provided by Smithburg Fire Department shows emergency personnel responding after oil tanks exploded in West Union, W.Va. on Friday, May 25, 2018.
Smithburg Fire Department via AP

Four people have been hospitalized after oil tanks exploded in West Virginia.

News outlets report a company was removing three oil tanks in West Union on Friday when the tanks exploded. State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Jake Glance said workers were dismantling the tanks with some type of torch. But the tanks were not entirely empty and caught fire.

Adobe Stock

A mine in West Virginia has been issued three violation notices over the death of a man in a bulldozer that plunged 100 feet when the ground underneath gave way.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, researchers at Duke University are investigating how renewable energy sources like wind or solar might affect people in traditionally coal-dependent communities. Duke professor Jonathan Free is overseeing the project called “Coal and America; Stories from the Central Appalachian Coalfields.” He and a group of undergraduate students will be interviewing folks throughout Appalachia this summer. Jessica Lilly spoke with him to find out more.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A lawyer for West Virginia residents affected by a 2014 chemical spill says they will not receive settlements until a judge's final approval, and administrators finish processing the over 95,000 claims.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said today the agency is prepared to take action to limit exposure of  widely-used toxic chemicals used to make non-stick items. 

PFAS is a category of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, C8, GenX, and many other chemicals with stain resistant, non-stick and waterproof properties. Several communities across the Ohio Valley have detected PFAS chemicals in drinking water and a few have significant contamination.

Appalachians Against Pipelines

Protesters in Jefferson National Forest erected a new protest site today aimed at blocking construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Fern MacDougal is the latest in a string of protesters to take to the trees in protest of the 303-mile pipeline.


Water
Jasonanaggie / Wikimedia Commons

The City of Martinsburg has sued the federal government over alleged chemical contamination of a drinking water plant.

Martinsburg attorney Kin Sayre filed the claim this month, requesting the Air National Guard pay for damages caused by high levels of two chemicals that the city said seeped into the water supply at the Big Springs water filtration plant in Martinsburg in 2016.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

Following heavy rains, construction at a Mountain Valley Pipeline site in Virginia has been suspended until erosion control measures are established.

Rebecca Kiger

Far from the ocean and Puerto Rico’s famous beaches, narrow roads wind into mountains not unlike the country roads of our home, West Virginia. After hours of driving we reach a rural community in the island’s center called Tetuan Tres. Like so many places in rural Appalachia, you don’t come here accidentally.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, earlier this year the Trump Administration imposed new tariffs on solar panels. It's part of the administration's "America-first" approach to trade. But one Appalachian organization is worried that the tariffs are leaving a lot of Americans in the dark. Glynis Board has our story.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The Mountain Valley Pipeline project has been cited for failing to control erosion at two work sites just two months after construction started on the more than 300-mile (483-kilometer) pipeline through Virginia and West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a state like West Virginia, where the economy is so deeply connected with the ebb and flow of the coal industry, discussions about climate change are often avoided.

In a recent episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Us & Them podcast, host Trey Kay speaks with Katharine Hayhoe. In 2014, Time magazine named Hayhoe one of the 100 Most Influential People because she’s one of the world’s leading climate scientists and a life-long evangelical Christian who’s willing to tackle the hot button topic of climate change.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito pressed the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday over recently released emails that show White House and EPA officials attempted to delay a new federal standard for C-8 and other similar toxic water-polluting chemicals, which have for decades been detected in several water systems in the Ohio Valley.

A No Pipeline sign is posted next to a property line marker only a few feet from the center line of the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press file photo

A federal appellate court vacated a key permit granted to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, saying Tuesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided no specific limits for the allowable impact on threatened and endangered species.

A sign greets visitors to the Fernow Experimental Forest in Tucker County, W.Va.
Jean Snedegar / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new study featuring research conducted at an experimental forest in West Virginia is shedding light on how the carbon-storing ability of soils, and the billions of microbes within them, may fare as both carbon dioxide and nitrogen increase in the future.

The research, published recently in the journal Global Change Biology, examined how increased nitrogen affects the ability of forests and soil to store carbon.

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