Energy & Environment

FirstEnergy Corp. is planning $110 million worth of infrastructure upgrades in West Virginia this year.
 

Ohio-based FirstEnergy said Thursday that the projects include transmission improvements, construction of new distribution lines, and replacement of underground cables, utility poles and other equipment.
 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A few of the hundreds of creditors seeking compensation from the company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill questioned top company officials in bankruptcy court.
 
At Tuesday's meeting administered by a U.S. Department of Justice official, Freedom Industries President Gary Southern and Chief Financial Officer Terry Cline answered questions on company finances from a federal trustee and fewer than 10 attorneys representing creditors.
 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, new EPA regulations are on the way, on existing coal-fired power plants. A conference in Morgantown tries to sort out what's on the way.

In the State Legislature, the House of Delegates looks at a Zombie Bill, and the Senate looks at gun rights.

Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Scores of environmental regulators, lawyers, and other interested parties discussed what they will be facing when the Environmental Protection Agency releases its new rules on existing coal fired power plants later this year.

Lawyers are concerned with the possibility of excessive amounts of litigation over the issue, and some hope coal-rich states like West Virginia are given a great deal of flexibility to implement changes.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

A federal health official says it's safe to use water contaminated by a chemical spill in West Virginia last month.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously labeled the water "appropriate for use" by everybody, but not "safe."
 

International Energy Agency

The report, titled “The Social Costs of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits Of Carbon,” highlights a forecasted decline in oil demand in the world’s energy market.

Some land in Wise Virginia has gone from producing coal, to producing grapes.

West Virginians debate whether frack waste should be dumped in local landfills.

Two long forgotten African American poets are recognized.

And we learn more about jazz pianist Bob Thompson.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has unanimously passed a bill to conserve and invest a portion of oil and gas revenues to use for future infrastructure and economic development.

The Future Fund Bill passed Friday sets aside 25 percent of the severance tax revenues collected from private oil and gas companies above a $175 million benchmark. This benchmark projects funds needed to sustain government operations.
 

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The two scientists leading the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project, or WV TAP, following the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River near Charleston provided an update on the project Friday. The briefing was held in a Department of Health and Human Resources conference room in downtown Charleston.

Dr. Andrew Whelton and Jeffrey Rosen spoke to reporters and said they have completed gathering samples of 10 homes across the area affected. Samples from both hot and cold water were taken.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill is selling the rest of its chemicals, helping employees find new jobs and winding down operations.

Saying the small company's problems exceed its size, attorney Mark Freedlander announced Freedom Industries' plans in federal bankruptcy court Friday. The company won't use up to $4 million the court had permitted Freedom to borrow to keep running.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

State environmental regulators have cited another violation at the West Virginia plant that spilled coal slurry into a stream last week.

The Department of Environmental Protection said the Kanawha Eagle preparation plant let more blackened water flow into the Kanawha River downstream Wednesday.
 

After smells of licorice, reported symptoms of burning eyes and noses, as well as positive tests of MCHM in recent weeks, tensions remain high over the safety of children after the Jan. 9 spill. Mackenzie Mays of The Charleston Gazette reports that many parents of children in Kanawha County schools are wondering how long schools will provide bottled water and how effective the new "rapid response team" has been. These concerns were the highlight of the Kanawha County Board of Education's Wednesday night meeting.

27-year old Ian McKee of Morgantown has been identified as the missing and feared-dead employee from the recent Greene County gas well explosion.

McKee was an employee of Cameron International, a contractor to Chevron, and his friends say he was onsite when the gas well exploded last week.

McKee and much of his immediate family are from Warren, Pa.

Initially, the Pennsylvania State Police set up a two-mile perimeter around the burning gas well. Then, the Wild Well Control crew from Houston, Texas, couldn’t get closer than a half mile because of the heat.

As Dave Boucher of The Charleston Daily Mail reports, state officials estimate the cost of the response to the January 9 chemical spill by Freedom Industries at $3 million. That number does not include costs from county emergency services or local school boards, and not all of it will be reimbursed by FEMA.

KDKA TV- Pittsburgh / KDKA

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials say they hope the gas well that went up in flames last week can be controlled by Friday.

"Obviously, there's a number of contingencies that could occur, from weather, to unanticipated problems," said Scott Perry, spokesman for the DEP.

A fire last week caused significant damage to a gas well that had been hydraulically fractured. It's just north of the West Virginia border.

Seth Ilys / en.wikipedia*

State regulators say snowmelt has sent wastewater at a former coal impoundment site spilling over sediment control ponds and into a McDowell County creek.

Department of Environmental Protection mining and reclamation acting director Harold Ward said Wednesday the spill occurred in Gary at a site formerly owned by U.S. Steel Mining.

DEP spokesman Tom Aluise says the amount that spilled wasn't immediately known.

Daniel Walker

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee looked at two bills intended to protect two different resources.

The first bill the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee considered on Wednesday was Senate Bill 353.

The bill would define timber theft in the state and give the Division of Forestry the authority to investigate and enforce penalties of theft in state forests.

Freedom Industries
AP

The company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill paid about $6 million to executives and associated companies the year before its bankruptcy declaration.
 
Court documents show $1.1 million went to three former Freedom Industries owners. Two left Freedom after a Dec. 6 merger deal worth $15 million.
 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Federal health experts say they'll talk with West Virginia officials about what lab studies are needed on little-known chemicals that spilled into a water system last month.
 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said Wednesday the CDC will reach out to the state about possibly conducting more studies.
 

State regulators say tests indicate water quality hasn't changed following a coal slurry spill in a Kanawha River tributary.
 
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission tested water samples Saturday through Tuesday at Huntington's water intake on the Ohio River. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the results indicate no water quality changes.
 

WCHS

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is exploring the city taking on testing of hotels and homes, to "prove to folks that the water is okay if, in fact, it is."

Jones said he doesn't know how many samples would be collected because he is awaiting a report from an Ohio-based company that would outline the cost of testing. He didn't reveal the name of the company. 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia company involved in last month's chemical spill is heading back to bankruptcy court.
 
Freedom Industries will return to the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse for a 10 a.m. hearing Friday. The company wants to hire experts and environmental consultants to assess the circumstances surrounding its Jan. 9 spill.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

West Virginia regulators say a coal operator can begin testing new control measures at the site of a slurry spill.
 
The Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that it has modified an order halting all work at Patriot Coal's Kanawha Eagle preparation plant in Winifrede.
 

Chuck Roberts / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling Tuesday sent a letter to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to formally request the CDC, or its partners, immediately conduct further epidemiological and/or toxicological studies and address ongoing population surveillance or monitoring as a result of the January 9 Elk River chemical spill.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he's not sure about tapping state reserves to monitor people's long-term health after chemicals spilled into their water supply last month.
 
Senate Majority Leader John Unger has said Tomblin should use $10 million from the state's rainy day fund for 10 years of health monitoring. Unger said lawmakers could approve the money, but it'd be easier with Tomblin's support.
 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the State Senate goes through a very spirited debate on a prescriptions bill.

Also, the House of Delegates looks at allowing alcohol sales earlier in the day on Sunday, despite some opposition in the House.

A public hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee gives those concerned over frack waste a chance to weigh in.

The House Judiciary Committee heard thoughts and concerns during a public hearing over a piece of pending legislation: HB4411 - allowing the disposal of drill cuttings and associated drilling waste generated from fracking sites in commercial solid waste facilities.

Some History:

Some Recent History:

State-Wide Concern:

Some Science:

The Advocate:

Kanawha County
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Kanawha County and City of Charleston  have announces Bulk Water Sites for Tuesday, February 18th through Sunday, February 23rd.
 
Bring Your Own Containers To:
 
Crossing Mall – Elkview
Walmart Parking Lot – Quincy
Shawnee Park – Institute
Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
Big Lots Parking Lot –Patrick Street – Charleston
100 Maywood Avenue-Across from Post Office – Clendenin
 
 

KDKA TV- Pittsburgh / KDKA

A natural gas well fire in Greene County, Pa., is out after it burned for several days.

A stream that meanders along the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border is being used to help keep the site restored, as order is slowly coming back to the location.

Dunkard Creek is the stream being used to withdraw water as the site is being worked on.

Kanawha Co. Schools

Concerns over the water in West Virginia persist 39 days after a coal scrubbing chemical spill affected the water supply of some 300,000 residents across nine counties. One school in Kanawha Co. dismissed early  Monday.

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