Energy & Environment

Nancy Andrews

Since late February, a small group of people have been quietly perched in two trees atop Peters Mountain in Monroe County. They are so remote, few have seen or heard directly from the protesters, but still there’s plenty of people noticing.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia House of Delegates moved swiftly Wednesday night to pass a new 5 percent pay raise package for teachers, service personnel and state police – acting on a revised revenue forecast from Gov. Jim Justice.

That bill made its way to the Senate yesterday Thursday but was not taken up in committee. On last night’s episode of The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chatted with Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about the situation at the statehouse.

Kara Leigh Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Senate voted unanimously Thursday, Feb. 22, for a bill that would delete a section of state law governing water pollution by surface coal mining.

The bill from the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee would cut a requirement that the mining company get certification afterward that it mitigated damage to streams or more than 250 acres of watershed.

President Trump made coal jobs a core of his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to bring back "beautiful" coal despite the industry's decades-long decline. And in pockets of the U.S. during Trump's first year in office, it may well have felt like a turnaround was underway.

A review of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in the wake of school shootings in Kentucky and Florida, there has been a rash of copycat school threats throughout the Ohio Valley, leaving law enforcement and education officials grappling with how to improve security. A school counseling expert from West Virginia University says it’s useful to look at the potential school shootings that did not happen. Glynis Board reports that his work focuses on how schools have successfully averted shooting incidents.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at energy legislation moving through this session. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Chairman Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, as well as Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition Angie Rosser.

Dollar Photo Club

Federal prosecutors have decided not to retry a West Virginia coal boss whose case ended in mistrial on charges of campaign finance fraud.

Dave Herasimtschuk / Freshwaters Illustrated

As the natural gas industry matures in our region, construction of big transmission pipelines like the Constitution and the Rover continue make headlines. But there are also thousands of miles of smaller pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to connect drilling well pads to the energy distribution system. These lines have far less oversight and could be having big impacts on smaller streams, and the wildlife that lives there.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We’ve fielded quite a few questions from people throughout the region who want to know more about a major deal the State of West Virginia struck with China Energy, the largest energy company in China. Glynis Board recently sat down with the director of WVU’s Energy Institute to get more insight into how this deal was made and what the implications might be. 


Jean Snedegar

November last year West Virginia's Commerce Department announced a deal with China Energy the biggest Chinese coal company, to invest billions in the state’s natural gas industry. A memorandum of understanding outlines a 20 year commitment to invest 83.7 billion dollars in the states shale gas industry. The deal didn’t happen overnight. Brian Anderson, founder and director of the Energy Institute at West Virginia University offers some insight into the deal and the company behind it.

On The Legislature Today, details about an estimated $84 billion investment by a Chinese energy company have been slim since Governor Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher made the announcement last fall. In this episode, we'll talk to a lead scientist at West Virginia University who describes a long-time relationship between the university and this energy company.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a salary increase for teachers, school service personnel and state troopers Tuesday. The passage of the bill comes as two of the state’s teacher unions have threatened to strike amid growing frustrations over salaries, problems with the state’s insurance provider and teacher vacancies. Dave Mistich has the story.

Edward Brown and Jerry Helton are both struggling with black lung disease.
Adelina Lancianese, photos; Alexandra Kanik, illustration.

The central Appalachian coalfields are in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of severe black lung disease. In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association federal researchers released the results of a study conducted at just three black lung clinics. The study confirmed 416 cases of the most severe form of black lung disease, Progressive Massive Fibrosis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the central Appalachian coalfields are in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of severe black lung disease. A recent medical study confirmed a cluster of more than 400 cases of the most severe form of black lung at just a few clinics, and an investigation by NPR and the Ohio Valley ReSource identified nearly 2,000 cases across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. The condition, caused by coal mine dust, is often debilitating and deadly. Reporter Benny Becker brings us the stories of two men struggling with the disease.

Touchstone Research Lab

Brian Joseph from Ohio County, West Virginia, has dedicated his professional life to innovation, reimagining and retooling old materials in the region with new technologies. 

Nancy Andrews

Natural gas industry stakeholders gathered in Pittsburgh last week at the Hart Energy’s Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference. For the nearly 1,000 attendees, the talk was about natural gas industry expansion: more pipelines, more production and more exports.

Gas, natural gas, pipeline, energy, valve
Dollar Photo Club

Regulators have approved a construction stormwater discharge permit for Mountaineer Gas Co.'s proposed natural gas distribution line expansion in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release Wednesday the permit gives the DEP wide-ranging inspection and enforcement authority for the project.

Dollar Photo Club

The Justice Department is weighing whether to retry a West Virginia coal boss on charges of campaign finance fraud. A mistrial was declared Friday after the jury spent more than five hours deliberating the fate of 58-year-old James Lewis Laurita, of Morgantown. 

Jason Walker, one of the Cedar Creek residents who have accused Dynamic Energy of contamining their water, poses near a creek from which he draws water to flush his toliets.
Molly Born / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In May 2016, a jury found that a coal company owned by then-candidate for governor, Jim Justice, wasn’t responsible for contaminating the water wells of several Wyoming County residents. Still, an order requiring the firm to provide temporary fresh water stayed in place, and the water kept coming -- until recently, when it abruptly stopped. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in May 2016, a jury found that a coal company owned by then-candidate for governor Jim Justice wasn’t responsible for contaminating the water wells of several Wyoming County residents. Still, an order requiring the firm to provide temporary fresh water stayed in place, and the water kept coming -- until recently, when it abruptly stopped. Molly Born has the story.

Peabody Energy, Inc.
Wikimedia Commons

At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future. Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single source.

“Because coal played such a dominant role, it took the oxygen out of the room for the development of other sectors of the economy,” he said.

Updated on Feb. 6 at 3:49 p.m. ET

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they've identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

When you picture the Appalachian Coalfields, you might think of those scenic photographs of mist rising from the mountains. But there are the less picturesque landscapes too -- views of mountaintops that have been stripped away from coal mining. Imagine if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we begin a new series of stories called Appalachian Innovators. When you think of Appalachian coalfields, images of stripped mountaintops might spring to mind. But what if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender? Some people in West Virginia think lavender could give the state’s struggling economy a boost. Roxy Todd has the story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, during the course of the past week, teacher rallies have sprung up around the state, as the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation for Teachers continue discussions with members about possible strikes or walkouts.

wikimedia commons/Magnolia677

Attorneys for 16 Wyoming County families who accused a coal company of contaminating their water asked the state’s highest court Wednesday, Jan. 24, for another chance to prove their case.

Chuck Hampe working on his 64,872nd table base -- his last -- before he retired from Gat Creek after 31 years.
Jean Snedegar

On the campaign trail and in his first State of the State address in February 2017, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talked about boosting furniture manufacturing in West Virginia. 

One of the most successful furniture manufacturers in the state is in Berkeley Springs.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about organic chicken eggs, a major pipeline project in Pennsylvania, and we take a tour of one of the most successful furniture manufacturers in West Virginia.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lanternfly, Lantern Fly, Fly, Lantern
Sam Droege / USGS

West Virginia's Department of Agriculture has established an email where the state's residents can send pictures and descriptions of a suspected invasive pest, as well as their locations and any related damage to buildings or plants.

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