Economy

Hazard Ahead: Ohio Valley Auto Industry Concerned About Trump Trade Policies

Aug 17, 2018
Nick Youngston CC By-SA 3.0 / Alpha Stock Images

Automotive manufacturing leaders met in Kentucky to discuss how changes in U.S. trade policy under President Trump affect the industry and its growing presence in the Ohio Valley.

Industry leaders gathered for the annual AutoVision conference and many don’t like what they see coming.

Hundreds gathered in Charles Town Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 to protest a new manufacturing plant being built in nearby Ranson. The plant will manufacture stone wool insulation a few miles from public schools and neighborhoods.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 at 8:10 a.m. with additional interviews, plus reactions from local residents and the Jefferson County Commission, and FAQs from the W.Va. DEP.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the farm bill being debated in Congress could have significant effects well beyond farms -- including on our waterways.

Over the years, wetlands have been stripped and drained to grow crops. A program funded by the farm bill pays farmers to conserve wetlands, and more farmers are looking to take flood-prone land out of production. As the Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin reports, that’s becoming more important in the Ohio Valley as floods become more frequent.

Molly Born / WVPB

Wharncliffe is a tiny community deep in the hills of Mingo County, in a rural corner of southern West Virginia. The road there is narrow with the signature hairpin curves of this region.

A Jeep SUV stocked with enough food to feed 50 kids makes the hour-long round trip five days a week from the nearby community center, over the mountain, to the local fire hall here.

Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

West Virginia officials say hotel occupancy has climbed from last year.

Gov. Jim Justice and other officials announced last week that statewide hotel occupancy grew around 16 percent in June from the same month in 2017. Officials say the growth produced a 20 percent revenue increase from a year earlier.

Del. Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Delegate Joshua Higginbotham is traveling to Taiwan on a trade promotion trip this week.

The House said in a news release that the Putnam County Republican and some other lawmakers were leaving Friday and returning Aug. 4. The Taiwan Economic Cultural Representative Office is organizing the trip.

Lawmakers Warn Of Economic Fallout From Failing Pensions

Jul 18, 2018
A union miner at an Ohio rally for pension protection.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts fired up a crowd of thousands of union workers in Columbus, Ohio, with a simple chant: “Fix it!”

The rally last week came on the eve of a congressional field hearing on problems plaguing multi-employer pension programs like the one retired miners depend upon.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Monring, the dog and horse racing industries have played a major role in West Virginia’s economy since the mid-1930s. But in recent years, whether these industries fit into the state’s economic future is something that’s been debated at the statehouse. As Liz McCormick reports, those who support the racing industry are fighting to see it survive, while others say it doesn’t bring in the revenue it once did.

Hogwash: Farmers Fear Trump Trade Disputes Are Damaging Ag Markets

Jul 16, 2018
Jimmy Tosh looks at hogs ready for the market.
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

Jimmy Tosh sells a lot of pigs. He is owner and CEO of Tosh Farms, Tosh Pork, and Bacon By Gosh, in Henry County, Tennessee, and has 84 contracted barns in the region where farmers grow pigs for his products.

On a recent July day, Tosh craned over some 1,200 piglets and reflected on how recent market disturbances have affected his business.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Trump administration escalated its trade dispute with China last week, threatening to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products. China has already retaliated against an earlier round of tariffs, and U.S. agriculture is feeling the pinch. Nicole Erwin spoke with Ohio Valley soybean and hog farmers who fear their buyers are disappearing.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, tourism is one of West Virginia’s largest industries, bringing in an estimated $4.5 billion in revenue and providing tens of thousands of jobs. Something that’s not so much of a challenge or concern for this industry is housing for the people who work in tourism.  Generally speaking, in West Virginia there’s ample affordable housing that is located near the state’s resorts and tourist destinations. But this isn’t the case in other parts of the country.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy companies in the Ohio Valley have looked to China as important customers and investors in coal and natural gas. But as Brittany Patterson explains, President Trump’s escalating trade battle with China and other trading partners could have a major effect on the region’s energy sector.

Still from White House video

President Donald Trump’s desire to help boost the Ohio Valley’s energy industry and bring back mining jobs could be stymied by the administration's escalating trade battle with China and other trading partners across the globe.

(left to right) Jerry Gilbert, Pres. of Marshall; Gordon Gee, Pres. of WVU; Kendra Boggess, Pres. of Concord; Michael Farrell, Commissioner with the WV Higher Education Policy Commission; and Gov. Jim Justice. During a press conference on July 2, 2018.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginia ended its 2018 fiscal year with a budget surplus of almost $30 million, according to Governor Jim Justice. Next, the governor said he’ll look to improving the state’s higher education system.

The governor said Monday in a press conference, 2012 was the last time West Virginia ended a year with a surplus without mid-year cuts.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

A coal waste plant at risk of shutting down in West Virginia is hoping to stay open through state proceedings.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Grant Town Power Plant's owner, American Bituminous Power Partners, has teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, according to company filings.

Trade Troubles: Ohio Valley Auto Industry Hopes To Dodge Trump Tariffs

Jul 2, 2018
Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley’s auto manufacturing industry is growing increasingly nervous about the Trump administration’s trade policy. First came tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, key materials for vehicle makers. Now the Commerce Department is looking into taxes on imported automobiles and automotive parts. Both are ominous signs for an industry that employs more than 1.5 million people in the region. Ohio and Kentucky are the nation’s second and third biggest auto-making states, respectively.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Ohio Valley includes two of the country’s top three states for auto manufacturing, and the industry employs more than 1.5 million people in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. That industry is growing nervous about the Trump administration’s trade policy. First came tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now, as Becca Schimmel reports, the Commerce Department is looking into taxes on imported autos and parts.

courtesy of Erin Board

An organizer says the U.S. Rafting Association's national whitewater championships will be held this fall on the New and Gauley rivers in West Virginia.

Achim Hering / Wikimedia Commons

A stone wool insulation producer has broken ground on a $150 million manufacturing facility in West Virginia.

Rockwool North America held a ceremony Tuesday in Ranson. The company says in a news release the 460,000-square-foot facility will employ about 150 people. Production is expected to start in early 2020.

The Happy Retreat mansion in Charles Town, W.Va. Formerly the home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother to President George Washington.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Happy Retreat is a historic mansion in Charles Town that was once the home of Charles Washington – founder of Charles Town and brother to the nation’s first president. Today, the house is becoming a hub for public events, community outreach, history and tourism.

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

Anti-poverty activists say they will continue a campaign of demonstrations and civil disobedience throughout the Ohio Valley despite arrests at some events and being blocked from Kentucky’s capitol building.

The Poor People’s Campaign has rallied in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia and campaign leaders returned to Kentucky Wednesday after the group was denied access at earlier demonstrations.

Carol Guzy/ NPR

Can Trump bring coal jobs back to Appalachia? We’re a year-and-a-half into his presidency, and some people, like coal operator Barry Estep, are hopeful.

“Maybe this is a light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been hoping for, to get things turned around and changed some.”

But others are not so sure that coal has a long-term future. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. began a movement to unite people of all colors and creeds in what was called the Poor People's Campaign. We’ll hear the latest in how that movement is being revived today.

We’ll also hear about experiments in Pennsylvania that are trying to bring back bats populations that have been plagued by a deadly fungus.

And the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed its version of the Farm Bill with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s provisions to remove hemp from a list of Schedule 1 controlled substances.

The ongoing war of words between the White House and the Canadian Prime Minister, and threatened tariffs from both sides, are clear reminders of how much of West Virginia’s economy depends on trade.

ATV
aiisha / Dollar Photo Club

Plans are underway for a new multi-cottage resort in West Virginia that a developer says will cater to the needs of ATV riders.

Developer Todd Boggess tells The Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the ATV Outpost at Pocohontas is envisioned as a family friendly facility with 22 cabins, a restaurant, general store and more.

UN Jean-Marc Ferre

The United Nations has published a report on poverty in the U.S. based on a fact-finding tour that included parts of the Ohio Valley.

The UN report says that of the 40 million poor Americans about 5.3 million live in “Third World conditions of absolute poverty.”

MPD01605 / Flickr

Tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike will double starting next year.

News outlets report the West Virginia Parkways Authority voted Thursday to increase rates at three toll booths from $2 to $4 for passenger cars starting Jan. 1.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Trump has told the Department of Energy to stop the pending closure of some economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants. As Brittany Patterson reports, energy analysts say that would raise bills for consumers and would likely come too late to help facilities in the Ohio Valley.

West Virginia University

 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced today that efforts are underway to distribute naloxone to emergency first responders statewide.

All first responders will carry the opioid overdose reversal drug and will be trained on how to  reduce overdose deaths in West Virginia. The DHHR has purchased a $1 million supply of naloxone, about 34,000 doses.

 

Bruce Parsons / KVEC

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. A basketball court had been separated with nets, and padded gates marked a circuit course for the little flying machines.

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