Energy & Environment

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

Crayfish are one of the most endangered animal groups in the country, but recently a scientist at West Liberty University discovered three new species--and says there may be more on the way. That's not a big surprise if you know Zachary Loughman. He's one of only nine crayfish biologists in the country and maybe the most enthusiastic.

“Any second of any day I will look for crayfish. Period," Loughman says.

He says Appalachia is the perfect place to research crayfish because it's such an ecologically diverse region.

National Transportation Safety Board

Federal investigators have determined the cause of a Colombia Gas Transmission pipeline explosion in West Virginia in December 2012.

In a report released Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board said the explosion was caused by external corrosion and a lack of recent inspections. The agency said the corrosion could have been discovered by the pipeline operator.

Kentucky launches a new education program with its federal Race to the Top grant.

Retired military members make a case for better climate change policy.

Calling all photographers! For help documenting Appalachia 50 years after the War on Poverty.

An Appalachian village ushers in the Lenten season West Virginia style.

C. W. Sigman

Federal agents have visited a company that cleaned up and hauled chemicals from the site of a spill that contaminated 300,000 West Virginians' water.
 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin confirmed that FBI investigators were at Diversified Services LLC in St. Albans on Thursday. Goodwin could not comment on why they were there.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A law office in Fayette County says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated state and federal law.

The Rist Law Office in Fayetteville wants the DEP to reverse a permit for an underground injection well the DEP granted for Danny E. Webb Construction Incorporated. Residents have been concerned about this site in Lochghelly for years.  

According to court documents, the Rist Law Office is representing the Natural Resource Defense Council, the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, the Plateau Action Network and citizen Brad Keenan.

Twiter / @hansenevan

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works had a hearing Thursday in Washington that focused on improving chemical safety. Committee members heard about the recent water crisis in the Kanawha Valley from a West Virginia expert.

Panelists included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Chemical Safety Board as well as authorities from communities that have witnessed recent chemical strife.

Alpha Natural Resources

One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and is set to spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into waterways across five Appalachian states.
 
The proposed settlement is the largest ever of its kind.
 

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The winter of 2014 continues to break records in West Virginia.

The National Weather Service says a blast of arctic air on Tuesday broke low temperature records for March 4 in Wheeling, Morgantown, Elkins and Lewisburg.
 
In Elkins, the temperature dropped to minus-10 degrees. The previous record was minus-7 degrees in 1996.
 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia company at the center of a January chemical spill is hiring experts to preserve emails and phone records for ongoing investigations.
 
Freedom Industries will pay Vestige Ltd. about $42,500 to maintain electronic evidence, which is needed for a U.S. Attorney's Office investigation and other chemical spill inquiries.
 

'Titan' Storm Closes Schools, Causes Delays in W.Va.

Mar 3, 2014
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Public schools across West Virginia are closed and some government offices are closing or delaying openings because of a winter storm.

The storm began Sunday as rain and changed overnight to sleet and then snow. Winter storm warnings remain in effect through Monday evening for most of the state.
 

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Politico

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is still skeptical about safety of drinking water for 300,000 Charleston-area residents.
 
At an appearance Friday in Charleston, the West Virginia Democrat said he would not drink tap water when he is visiting the capital city, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.
 

Same sex marriage makes headlines again this week across the country and in Appalachia.

An outdoor classroom in Virginia addresses watershed issues.

Tourism professionals aren’t worried about the water at a conference in Charleston, W.Va.

And Traveling 219 makes another visit to the Tygart Valley Homestead in Randolph County W.Va.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has lifted a state of emergency for nine counties in West Virginia that were affected by a chemical spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries that tainted the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents.

The site of a 1972 disaster along Logan County's Buffalo Creek is having new life breathed into it.
 

Buffalo Creek is rapidly becoming one of southern West Virginia's most popular trout streams.
 
This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the collapse of an earthen dam along Buffalo Creek after heavy rain. It unleashed a flood that killed 125 people, injured 1,100 and left about 4,000 homeless.
 

Each time you go to turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or water the lawn, you’re connecting yourself to a complex water system with nearly two and a half thousand years of history. The structure of our modern network of reservoirs, pipes, and drains owes much of its influence to designs dating back to ancient Rome. 

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.

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