Brittany Patterson

Energy and Environment Reporter

Brittany Patterson is the energy and environment reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Ohio Valley ReSource. A native of northern California, Brittany comes to West Virginia from Washington, D.C., where she spent three years covering public lands and climate change for E&E News, an outlet that's widely considered required reading for energy and environment professionals.

She covers a broad range of topics including the oil and gas industry, coal industry, utilities, conservation, water quality issues and climate change across West Virginia and the Ohio Valley.

Brittany earned her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and her master's from U.C. Berkeley, both in journalism. Her work has been published in Scientific American, E&E News, TheAtlantic.com, Mother Jones, KQED, Earth Island Journal, Verily, and Refinery 29.

When not reporting the news, you can find her baking, hiking or cuddling with her 85-pound American bulldog, Cooper.

Ways to Connect

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

A proposal to repurpose a docking facility near Marietta, Ohio, to allow for the barging of oil and gas drilling waste on the Ohio River is drawing concern from environmental groups and local residents.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Lawmakers from across the Ohio Valley have received nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions from 2019-2020 from a political action committee associated with FirstEnergy Corp., the electric utility implicated in a $61 million bribery and racketeering scheme related to Ohio’s controversial energy bill that bailed out several struggling nuclear and coal plants. 

 

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

 


A major Ohio Valley coal producer announced last week it will speed up its exit from producing coal used to generate electricity. In a call with shareholders last week, Contura Energy, Inc., said the move is tied to the ongoing global transition away from fossil fuels. 

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

 


On a recent sticky July afternoon, Diana Green stands on the muddy bank of lower Davis Creek in South Charleston, West Virginia. 

looney ridge surface coal mine
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A federal judge has ruled a coal company owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is liable for more than 3,000 violations of federal clean water standards stemming from pollution discharged from a coal mine in southern West Virginia. 

NYSE

 


One of the country’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, with a large presence in the Ohio Valley, has emerged at the center of a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme related to Ohio’s controversial energy bill that bailed out several struggling nuclear and coal plants.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky-based coal company Rhino Resource Partners LP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday, joining a growing list of Ohio Valley coal producers seeking financial restructuring as the U.S. coal industry continues to struggle. 

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

A coalition of progressive policy and environmental groups has released a “blueprint” that provides a framework for how Ohio Valley communities could reap the benefits of federal action to address climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gasoline, Gas, Fuel, Diesel
Pixabay

Leaders in West Virginia’s capital city are drawing attention to the local health and economic effects of the Trump administration’s rollback of federal fuel-efficiency rules.

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s $2 trillion clean energy plan is drawing praise from organizations that work with coal communities on economic transition, but mixed reactions from union officials and industry groups. 

 

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Daelim Chemical USA, a major investment partner in a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio, across the river from Moundsville, West Virginia, announced on Tuesday that it is exiting the project. 

Five barges full of coal being transported along the Kanawha River in Marmet, W.Va.
Eric Douglas/ WVPB

A new lawsuit brought by environmental groups raises the alarm over the solvency of a fund that can be used to clean up coal mining operations when mining companies walk away.

Three groups — the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Sierra Club — filed the citizen’s suit Thursday against the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and its secretary, Austin Caperton.

Lalena Price

COVID-19 forces big changes in our society and for our medical systems. When patients with mental health conditions are forced to stay at home isolated, the resulting social distancing can be particularly dangerous. Counselors and therapists are just learning how to use virtual care and teletherapy to support their patients. One group of disorders, eating disorders, can affect a person’s physical health. If they’re left untreated, these conditions can become fatal. We’ll hear how one doctor treats her patients virtually, and helps them stay healthy.

Pipeline awaits construction.
SETH PERLMAN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

 


Developers of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline announced Sunday they are canceling the project, citing ongoing delays and rising costs. 

In a news release, Dominion Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. attributed the decision largely to a barrage of legal challenges brought by landowners and conservation groups that have slowed down the project. 

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A new report by the Trump administration suggests the Ohio Valley’s growing petrochemical industry could be an unprecedented source of economic opportunity and growth when the county, and region, eventually emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the assessment is drawing criticism from environmental groups and some financial analysts that warn the risk is growing for plastics and petrochemical manufacturers. 

looney ridge surface coal mine
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Coal production in the Ohio Valley has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 2009, according to federal data. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has flattened energy demand, which has struck another blow to the already struggling industry. Coal company bankruptcies continue to pile up.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

 


On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background — nature’s version of a white noise machine. 

 

For the tanned Currey, who also owns an industrial real estate company, being here, on the river, is as good as it gets. His goal is to share this slice of paradise with as many people as will listen. 

Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members from Paden City, West Virginia, heard from federal and state officials Thursday about an ongoing investigation into the city’s contaminated water supply. 

Tim Reddinger, Ohio River, Beaver, Pennsylvania
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state agency tasked with regulating oil and gas permitting, inspections and the plugging of abandoned wells is facing a major budgetary shortfall and is expecting to cut staff by more than 35 percent. 

James Martin, director of the Office of Oil and Gas for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection told members of the DEP Environmental Protection Advisory Council Tuesday that permit requests from the industry were down substantially this year. The Office of Oil and Gas receives the bulk of its funding from permitting fees. 

Department of Environmental Quality Firector, David Paylor walks along a retention pond for a spring near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline June 6, in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

 


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a victory to the 600-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline.

The issue at hand was whether the U.S. Forest Service could allow the pipeline to be built underneath the iconic Appalachian Trail, which is managed by another federal agency, the U.S. Park Service. 

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A coalition of conservation and environmental groups is once again calling attention to pollution and unmet environmental obligations at mines controlled by now-bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel LLC. 

Screenshot / DEP Public Hearing

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection heard from the public Wednesday over whether it should allow coal mining to resume at a strip mine in Tucker County.

 


It’s primary election day here in West Virginia and it’s unlike any election in modern history. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, state officials delayed the state's May 12 primary and allowed all registered voters to request an absentee mail-in ballot. Per usual, voters also had the opportunity to vote early in person. 

If you’re heading to the polls today to vote, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers. 

Michael Keller / Goldenseal

Three more prisoners and one employee for the state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation have tested positive for the coronavirus, as state officials continue collecting results from all incarcerated people in West Virginia.

Edwin L. Wriston / West Virginia National Guard

As part of the state’s continuing efforts to provide COVID-19 testing opportunities for minorities and vulnerable populations, free testing is being offered in seven counties Friday June 12 and Saturday June 13. 

 

Evening at the State Fair of West Virginia
The State Fair of West Virginia

West Virginia continues to reopen sectors of its economy shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. At a virtual media briefing Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice announced fairs and festivals would resume on July 1, ahead of the July Fourth holiday weekend. 

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A federal judge has denied a request by coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to dismiss a lawsuit over selenium violations at a southern West Virginia coal mine. 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

This story was updated at 3:55 p.m. on June 3, 2020 to include additional comments by Gov. Jim Justice. 

 

All inmates at West Virginia’s correctional facilities are set to be tested for the coronavirus by June 12, Gov. Jim Justice said at a virtual press conference Wednesday morning. 

Jesse Wright / 100 Days in Appalachia

 


Hundreds of people peacefully marched through the streets of downtown Morgantown on Tuesday calling for justice and equality for people of color following the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police. 

Department of Environmental Quality Firector, David Paylor walks along a retention pond for a spring near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline June 6, in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Federal environmental regulators finalized a rule Monday that reduces the time states have to approve federal permits for energy projects. 

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized changes to a portion of the Clean Water Act called Section 401.

Pages