Energy & Environment

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for scientists who study climate change, it’s really hard to estimate exactly how much carbon dioxide forests and the soil below them will store in the future.

Brittany Patterson reports on a new study that used West Virginia forests to shed 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.

Power Lines
Kreuzschnabel / wikimedia commons

Thousands of customers remain without power in West Virginia a day after severe thunderstorms rolled through the state.

FirstEnergy says on its website that about 7,500 homes and businesses were without electricity Tuesday afternoon. That includes 2,400 customers in Pendleton County, 1,800 in Harrison County and 1,200 in Jefferson County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a zoo in Wheeling is collaborating with West Liberty University to give students hands-on research opportunities in animal husbandry. Corey Knollinger reports.

New Vision Renewable Energy

Instead of sending used political signs to the landfill, kids in Barbour County are using the signs in an anti-litter campaign.


Sergei Grits / Associated Press

The majority of ants entering the United States are coming not from their native countries, but from other regions, according to a new U.S. Forest Service study released this week, co-authored by a Morgantown entomologist.

Over the past two centuries, more than 400 insects have invaded the U.S. Some of those include ants. And although they are little, ants can cause big ecological problems worldwide including triggering outbreaks of sap-feeding insects because some non-native ant species keep away parasites.

In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, beekeeper Constantine Chlepas sits on a section of downed trees on the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline near his property in Lindside, W.Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

George Jones was against the Mountain Valley Pipeline from the start.

The natural gas pipeline is routed to run through the southwest Virginia farm his family has owned for seven generations. The 88-year-old Navy veteran never considered signing an easement agreement with the developers, because he thought the whole thing seemed an affront to his property rights. But state law meant he couldn’t even keep surveyors out.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at Tuesday's primary election. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, beating out five other candidates, including front-runners former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and Congressman Evan Jenkins. As Dave Mistich reports, the race drew national attention as Republicans take aim at the seat held by Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin.

This story is part of a series on coal country by NPR's Embedded podcast. Episode audio is below.

On May 5, 2016, Donald Trump led a campaign rally in Charleston, W.Va.

He put on a hard hat and pretended he was shoveling coal. The crowd loved it.

In this Nov. 21, 1968, file photo, smoke pours from the burning Llewellyn portal of the Mountaineer Coal Co., where 78 miners are trapped near Farmington, W.Va.
AP file photo

Nearly half a century after an explosion tore through the Farmington No. 9 mine in West Virginia, the families of the 78 men who died there are still looking for justice.

Many of the children of the lost miners are now grandparents and older than their fathers ever were. Some have given up hope of ever holding anyone accountable for the disaster. But others are looking to a federal appeals court for some measure of closure.

Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia

Communities tasked with finding a second life for land that once housed coal-fired power plants should engage early and often and think holistically about the economic and environmental challenges and opportunities, according to a new tool.

The Chicago-based Delta Institute, which works with transitioning coal communities, released a roadmap this week aimed at helping local governments redevelop sites where coal plants once stood.


View of the Allegheny Front from Bear Rocks Preserve
Chad Matlick

A land donation will more than double the size of the Bear Rocks Preserve in West Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that near 2 square miles of land along the Allegheny Front, the eastern rim of the Dolly Sods plateau, has been donated to the Nature Conservancy of West Virginia. The gift was made possible through donations from the Ann C. and Robert O. Orders Jr. Family Foundation and Maryland resident Dan Montgomery.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, next week is Election Day, and we bring you a look at the Republican primary candidates vying to represent West Virginia in Washington. This and more, on West Virginia Morning.

water faucet
wikimedia

A company in West Virginia says it's seeking to raise prices for customers by nearly $12 per month.

WSAZ-TV reports West Virginia American Water is asking the Public Service Commission to approve the 24 percent rate increase. The increase would add about $32 million to the company's revenue.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from detainees and soldiers who were held or worked in Guantanamo Bay Detention Center; the latest on new tariffs for steel and aluminum imports; and we hear how a new study found a link between drug overdose deaths in the U.S. to an increase in organ donors.

Fourth-graders at North Jefferson Elementary School in Kearneysville, Jefferson County prep dirt for planting in one of their three raised garden beds.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members are rallying around a school in the Eastern Panhandle. They want to build an outdoor classroom so that kids can get into nature more readily. The goal is to improve academic achievement and provide more opportunities - especially for kids from low-income areas.

U.S. Forest Service / USDA

Prescribed burning is planned for the Hopkins Knob area of Greenbrier County on Sunday, April 29.

According to a news release issued by the U. S. Forest Service, two helicopters and up to 60 firefighters and support staff will be on hand to assist with the prescribed burn inside the in the Monongahela National Forest.

Burning will occur only if weather conditions are favorable.

More information, including maps and photos, can be found on the webpage here.

David Mercer / Associated Press

A university in West Virginia has been fined $4,999 for failing to complete inventories of American Indian remains and artifacts in its possession.

The U.S. Department of the Interior notified Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert of the fine in a letter this week.

Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation is taking applications for grant funding available for economic development projects.

The goal of the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program is to provide financial assistance to communities hoping to redevelop lands near abandoned mine sites across the state. 


Wikimedia Commons

A natural gas energy processor has agreed to pay a $610,000 civil penalty and install millions of dollars worth of equipment to reduce harmful emissions at hundreds of facilities across western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

Brownfields site in Columbus, OH.
Dnpatton / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has awarded West Virginia nearly $3 million for assessment, remediation and planning work on contaminated properties across the state.

The EPA’s Brownfields Program is aimed at helping communities expand their ability to recycle polluted properties for new, productive reuses.

gypsy moth
Editor at Large / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture says it will begin aerial spraying for gypsy moth early next month.


 

 

The spraying is slated for nearly 5,300 acres within Grant, Hardy, Nicholas and Pendleton counties. The goal is to reduce the impact of the insect on West Virginia’s forests.

 

This Feb. 15, 2017 photo shows railroad tracks along the West Virginia town of Matoaka, which once carried coal trains several times a day and at night.
Michael Virtanen / AP

Two mines owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice were among three across the state that missed the deadline for installing life-saving technology to prevent miners from being crushed by machinery in underground coal mines.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Environmental Protection Agency said a little-studied chemical compound has not been found in treated drinking water that came from contaminated wells in Ohio and West Virginia.

Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has issued a third executive order targeting state regulations.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Republican signed an executive order on Monday to expedite permit processes for industry, business and economic development projects. Justice says the goal is to speed up economic development by backing off overregulation and providing security for job creators.

Courtesy

President Donald Trump appointed a new federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission or ARC. Tim Thomas spent the past three years serving on the state staff of Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. Thomas also has experience as the director of external and regulatory affairs for Swift & Staley, a Kentucky-based maintenance, operations and environmental services company. Its clients have included federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

A Cornell University researcher will be at West Virginia University for a seminar on the effects of climate change on food supplies.

WVU says Michael Hoffmann will lead the discussion Tuesday on topics including the basics of climate change, how changing climate affects the food supply and research that leads to new solutions and practices.

Harrison County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

West Virginia regulators are monitoring a damaged dam in the northern part of the state that could potentially fail.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says in a news release a worker with the town of Lumberport notified authorities Wednesday about a collapsed section of the dam.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For decades, communities in the Ohio Valley have grappled with water contaminated with toxic fluorinated chemicals, sometimes called PFOA or C-8 that are often used to make non-stick pans and other items, but this type of contamination isn’t limited to the region.

A newly-updated map shows the number of contaminated sites that are known to exist around the country has nearly doubled in the past year.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a petition April 18 with the Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency for a new rule that would reduce the permitting burden for American steel producers.

The proposal asks EPA to modify the New Source Review, a program under the Clean Air Act that requires factories, industrial boilers and power plants to install emissions-control technologies or reduce air pollution when new plants are built or current ones modified.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a year ago this week, white supremacist groups descended on Pikeville, Kentucky, aiming to rally “white working families,” where they were met by anti-fascist groups from across Appalachia and elsewhere in the country. After a deadly incident in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, many of these white supremacist groups fractured as a result of increased scrutiny and internal power struggles.

There is evidence that remnants of those groups have recently sprung up in north-central West Virginia. Dave Mistich takes a look some incidents where the groups have been active, the community reaction and how to identify such messages if you find them in your own neighborhood.

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