Energy & Environment

We’ve passed the deadline for bills to be introduced in the House of Delegates this session. On Monday, that same cut-off will be in the Senate. Host Suzanne Higgins sits down with statehouse reporters Ryan Quinn of The Charleston Gazette-Mail, Taylor Stuck of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, and Brad McElhinny of WV MetroNews for this week’s roundtable.

solar panels atop the garage attached to the First State Capitol Building
Glynis Board / WVPB

Lawmakers in the West Virginia Senate have passed a bill that would markedly increase solar generation in the coal-heavy Mountain State. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This morning, we’ll hear the love story of a couple who met in Mexico, and then moved to West Virginia nearly 70 years ago. Our listeners might recognize the voice of Frank Stowers. Stowers is a part time host of our classical music programming. Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd sat down with Frank and his wife of 67 years, Emita Stowers, to hear their story.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Fire officials in Australia are celebrating a landmark moment, saying that for the first time in what has been a horrendous wildfire season, every fire in hard-hit New South Wales is now under control. Bushfires have destroyed more than 2,400 homes and burned 5.4 million hectares of land – or about 13.3 million acres — in the country's most populous state.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

Many residents in the small West Virginia town of Paden City are grappling with the news that the city’s water is contaminated with a chemical commonly used in dry cleaning called Tetrachloroethylene or PCE. 

Late last month, the city-run water authority sent a notice to residents warning PCE was present in the water at nearly three times the federal limit. The notice stated the water was safe to drink in the short term, but could lead to long term health problems including an increased risk of cancer.  

City officials are working on a fix, but some residents are asking both how long they’ve been exposed to the chemical and if that exposure may have impacted their health.

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit Paden City where citizens are concerned that years of poorly reported water contamination has led to clusters of disease and health hardships.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia has long been known for its apple production. But apple farmers are struggling and orchards are disappearing.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Those protesting pipelines and other industrial sites could be subject to fines and imprisonment under a new bill being considered in the West Virginia House of Delegates. The lower chamber’s Judiciary Committee held a public hearing Monday on a measure known as the West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.

House Bill 4615 would designate and protect facilities the measure deems “critical infrastructure facilities” — including oil refineries, natural gas operations, telecommunications infrastructure, railroads, chemical plants, government-regulated dams and water treatment facilities. The measure would impose various jail sentences and fines for trespassing, vandalism and “conspiring” with those who carry out those acts. 

Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

John Fuller is waiting for another farmer he’s never met before to talk about a situation he never imagined he would be in.

It’s an overcast January day on his farm in west Kentucky, where he grew 18 acres of hemp last year, investing more than $250,000 of his own cash. He’s one of nearly 1,000 licensed hemp growers in 2019 who helped grow Kentucky’s biggest hemp crop since the state reintroduced it, trying to cash in on what could be a $1 billion industry for CBD products made from hemp.

But now, Fuller is wondering how much of that investment he’ll get back.

Antarctica experienced its hottest day on record Thursday.

At least, that's what scientists reported at Argentina's Esperanza research station, on the very northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The finding, announced Thursday by Argentina's national meteorological service, placed the temperature at 18.3 degrees Celsius — or just about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

SYDNEY BOLES/ OHIO VALLEY RESOURCE

Heavy rains caused extensive flooding across eastern Kentucky this week, and city and county officials say it could take weeks to fix some of the damage.


We discuss West Virginia’s children in crisis with members of a newly formed Public Health caucus. Also, West Virginia’s veterans were honored at the Capitol, and we bring you the latest in legislative action.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

More than two years after carrying out the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history, the Trump administration has finalized plans for the roughly 2 million acres of formerly protected land in southern Utah.

Solar panels arriving in Fayette County.
Colleen Laffey

A legislative proposal that would allow limited solar development by West Virginia’s two electric utilities has ignited intense debate in the energy committees of both the lower and upper houses of the state Legislature.

Courtesy Braidy Industries

A controversial economic development project in Ashland, Kentucky, hit a snag last week as aluminum company Braidy Industries ousted CEO and board chairman Craig Bouchard. In a statement, Braidy Industries’ interim CEO said he appreciated Bouchard’s hard work for the company. Bouchard says the firing was improper and is refusing to step down.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a story about communities along the Ohio River who want to remove some old dams, and we’ll move downstream to discuss flooding.

Summersville Lake
Huntington District Facebook Page / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Like Capt. Quint in the movie "Jaws," Aaron Yeager needed a bigger boat.

Now he has one, and according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, with it he'll be able to create more and bigger fish habitat in some of West Virginia's most popular lakes.

Natural gas pipeline warning sign
Richard Marx / Adobe Stock

West Virginia lawmakers in the House Energy Committee Tuesday voted to advance a bill that would provide tax credits to companies that store and transport a valuable byproduct of natural gas production. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Engineers are increasingly concerned about locks and dams along the Ohio River in this day and age. We take a closer look at this issue and much more on this West Virginia Morning.

It was E-Day at the West Virginia Legislature – a focus on the environment when advocates gather to lobby on behalf of environmental policy. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with a lawmaker who is also an environmental scientist, to review several environmental related bills.

The Big Sandy Crayfish is found in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. It's listed as a threatened species and protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Guenter Schuster

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is proposing new protections for two threatened species of crayfish found in the Appalachian coalfields.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

The rain came hard and fast early on the morning of June 23, 2016. By 2 p.m., water was knee deep in Bill Bell’s appliance store on Main Street in Rainelle, a small town on the western edge of Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear reports about natural gas, grocery store closures, and pirates – of the sporting kind.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Del. Bill Anderson, chairman of the House Energy Committee, and House Energy Committee member, Del. Mike Caputo on last night’s episode of The Legislature Today. They spoke about the role coal is likely to play in the future of West Virginia’s energy mix.

We hear an excerpt from the interview, taped live at the Capitol.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson returns to lead a conversation on West Virginia’s struggling coal industry. We’re also joined by senior reporter Dave Mistich and reporter Emily Allen to discuss the latest news from the Capitol.

Natural gas pipe for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline sits in a yard Feb. 27, 2019, near Morgantown, W.Va.
Larry Dowling / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s top official says the state is prepared to do “anything” to help the state’s struggling oil and natural gas industry. 

Speaking at the annual winter meeting of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 22, Gov. Jim Justice told the crowd of drillers and producers that his administration believes the industry is vital to the state’s economic health and that he’s in lockstep with the industry in supporting legislative relief. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Dave McMahon, of the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, during last night’s episode of The Legislature Today.

Adobe Stock

New testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified the presence of toxic fluorinated chemicals, broadly known as PFAS, in the tap water of dozens of cities across the U.S. where contamination was not previously known. 

We begin a two-part series on West Virginia’s energy sectors. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson looks at the forecast for oil and natural gas production and includes perspective from environmentalists and private property owners. Also, host Suzanne Higgins speaks with statehouse reporter Emily Allen for the latest in legislative action.

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